No Legal New Jersey Sports Betting Soon After Latest Court Loss

New Jersey’s quest to have legal sports betting in Atlantic City casinos and at the state’s racetracks hit yet another roadblock.

What happened in the NJ sports betting case

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals again rejected the state’s appeal in a case to allow sports betting within its borders.

This time, the Third Circuit considered the NJ sports betting case “en banc,” with 12 judges considering the case. The hearing took place in February, and the outcome — a 10-2 decision against NJ — came on Tuesday.

The en banc rehearing took place after NJ lost its initial appeal 2-1, also in the Third Circuit.

In 2014, the state tried to enact a partial repeal of its sports betting laws, triggering a court case that pits New Jersey against the major North American professional sports leagues, the NCAA, and the Department of Justice. The law, as written, would have allowed sports betting at casinos and horse tracks.

It’s the latest setback for New Jersey, which has been fighting to offer sports betting in court dating back to 2012.

What’s next for NJ and sports betting?

The possibilities for NJ, at least in the short term, are fairly limited.

The only court to which it can appeal is the US Supreme Court. And given the overwhelming majority that ruled against New Jersey, that appeal being granted seems like a reach.

Beyond that, NJ could go back to the drawing board and attempt to pass yet another sports betting repeal, in a third attempt to skirt PASPA. That’s the federal law that outlaws sports betting in almost all states outside of Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware.

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The appeals court’s ruling

The court’s ruling was not a shock; most analysts believed the state faced long odds after the rehearing took place this winter.

The court ruled that NJ’s actions ran afoul of PASPA, as an “authorization” of sports betting in the state.

The court’s majority wrote that NJ could fully repeal its law regarding sports betting — creating a totally unregulated environment — and be in compliance with PASPA.

The court also ruled that PASPA is constitutional; NJ has argued it is not, on the grounds that it violates the 10th Amendment. That amendment states that powers not given to the federal government are reserved for the states.

Bad news for those hoping for the proliferation of sports betting

There has been some momentum for sports betting to become legal in the US in recent years, from an advocacy push by the American Gaming Association to NBA Commissioner NBA Adam Silver supporting the idea of legalizing it.

But the only way sports betting was going to happen quickly in the US was via a victory for New Jersey in this case.

Short of that, a new NJ-style court case will have to be generated in another part of the US, or Congress will have to move to repeal PASPA. Either of those possibilities are likely years away from coming to fruition.

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About the Author

Dustin Gouker

Aside from his role as editor at, Dustin Gouker writes extensively about the legal online gaming and US online poker industries, having played poker recreationally for his entire adult life. He has also covered sports for The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner, among others.