Some analysts thought New Jersey’s sports betting case faced extremely long odds of the US Supreme Court hearing its appeal. On Tuesday, those odds got a little shorter.

What the Supreme Court did on NJ sports betting

We knew the Supreme Court would do something regarding New Jersey’s attempt to legalize sports betting within its borders.

What that something would be, we didn’t know. It could have denied the request for an appeal, or granted an appeal.

What actually happened was a third option: It asked the US Solicitor General’s office to offer the federal government’s take on the case and PASPA. That’s the federal law that prevents single game sports wagering everywhere except for Nevada.

The state hopes it can legalize sports betting to help Atlantic City casinos and at the state’s racetracks.

So what does the SCOTUS request mean?

It means the court wants to hear the government’s opinion on the case. In the ongoing saga in the past, the Department of Justice had joined other plaintiffs. The plaintiffs currently are the professional sports leagues (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB) and the NCAA as plaintiffs.

To date, New Jersey has lost challenges in the federal court system at every point along the way after passing two different laws in recent years.

It clearly means that the Supreme Court is at least thinking about taking the appeal. With eight justices on the court, half of them would have to vote (at a later date), to take the appeal.

What’s next for the NJ sports betting case?

For now, it’s a waiting game for New Jersey and the other parties involved. More from SCOTUSblog on the timing of the case:

There is no deadline for the federal government to submit its brief, which will almost certainly be filed by the new solicitor general (or acting solicitor general) in the Trump administration. If the Supreme Court were to grant review, the case would likely be argued next term, at which point the court is likely to have a ninth justice.

So everyone hoping SCOTUS would resolve the sports betting case in the near future will have to wait awhile longer. But the news was certainly positive for NJ in its quest to have legal sports betting.

Image credit: mj007 / Shutterstock, Inc.

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.