New Jersey should know if it has a fighting chance in its ongoing sports betting case by early next week.

Tuesday is key for NJ sports betting

The US Supreme Court is officially on the clock for the NJ sports betting case.

On Friday, the nation’s highest court was supposed to consider a series of appeals made to it. That included the case between New Jersey and the major US professional sports leagues and the NCAA on the subject of sports betting.

New Jersey has on two different occasions passed laws legalizing sports betting. So far, both laws have suffered defeat after defeat after the leagues took them to court. Judges on the federal level have held that NJ’s sports betting laws violate PASPA — the law that prevents states outside of Nevada from allowing single-game sports wagering.

SCOTUS usually quickly reveals which appeals it will hear. Since Monday is a federal holiday, New Jersey will find out if its appeal will go through on Tuesday.

If New Jersey gets the appeal heard

The best-case scenario is that the Supreme Court hears the case. That would mean four of the current eight justices on the court (one position remains vacant) will have agreed to take the appeal.

However, only a small percentage of the appeals made to the Supreme Court are heard. And a split on rulings between two different federal circuits usually increases the odds an appeal will be heard. No such split exists in this case.

The first time NJ passed a sports betting bill, SCOTUS did not hear the appeal.

New Jersey and the leagues would get their day in court later this year. A majority would have to side with New Jersey in order for its sports betting law to take effect. In that scenario, New Jersey casinos and racetracks could offer sports betting later this year.

If New Jersey does not get the appeal heard

This appears to be the more likely scenario of the two. Despite the fact that some legal analysts believe that New Jersey has a good case, the lack of a circuit split and the lopsided defeat (nine justices to three) in the Third Circuit are working against it.

In that scenario, New Jersey would have to go back to the drawing board, if it wants to legalize sports betting. Such an effort already surfaced in the state legislature late in 2016.

Efforts to change the federal law on sports betting via Congress are expected to get started at some point this year.

Dustin Gouker

About

Aside from his role as editor at LegalSportsReport.com, 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.