The American Gaming Association (AGA) says New Jersey’s efforts to overturn a federal ban on sports betting are gaining momentum. Now, the AGA wants its partners to stick together to help make the final push.

In fact, the AGA brought that message to the National Indian Gaming Association’s (NIGA) mid-year conference in Phoenix, AZ last week. The AGA stressed the importance of continuing to work together to overturn the federal ban on sports betting.

The New Jersey sports betting case

New Jersey lawmakers first passed a bill in 2011 legalizing sports betting at racetracks and Atlantic City casinos. However, before any bets were placed, major sports leagues including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball filed a lawsuit.

The leagues had the new law struck down. New Jersey appealed to the Third Circuit Court, which affirmed the decision.

New Jersey passed another sports betting law in 2014. It lost again in district court when the leagues filed suit. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals also affirmed that decision. The state appealed and lost again before asking the US Supreme Court to hear the case.

Acting US Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall recommended the court not take up the case, but it did anyway.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act

At the center of the case is a piece of legislation called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). It’s PASPA that makes traditional sports betting illegal everywhere except Nevada, NFL parlay sports betting in Delaware, and game square wagering in Montana.

New Jersey is attempting to convince five of nine Supreme Court justices to overturn PASPA.

Towards that aim, the AGA has filed an amicus brief detailing the size of the illegal sports betting market and the dangers of an unregulated market. It also claims governors and attorneys general from 20 states have filed an amicus brief in support of New Jersey.

AGA and NIGA support efforts

Additionally, the AGA, NIGA and several other groups have banded together to create the American Sports Betting Coalition. The aim of this group is to represent the interests of law enforcement, elected officials, business, and organizations advocating for a repeal of PASPA.

“Working with NIGA and the tribal community is a top priority for AGA as we seek an end to the federal ban that’s driving a $150 billion illegal sports betting market,” AGA senior vice president of public affairs Sara Slane said in a release last week.

The illegal US sports betting market

Research from Oxford Economics estimates a legalized and regulated sports betting market could potentially support up to 152,000 jobs. It would also create an estimated $26 billion in economic output, and generate up to $5.3 billion in tax revenue.

The AGA also says Americans bet an estimated $15 billion on the Super Bowl and NCAA March Madness basketball tournament this year alone. It also claims close to 97 percent of those bets were made illegally.

Now, fourteen states have introduced sports betting bills, including New Jersey. Plus, the AGA expects more to do so as states’ rights advocates and elected officials speak up in favor of a PASPA repeal.

Oral arguments in the New Jersey case are expected this fall. A decision from the US Supreme Court is expected in early 2018.

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In his over 10 years covering the US online poker, legal NJ online gambling, and land-based casino industries, Martin Derbyshire has worn the hats of award-winning journalist and video and film producer. He has logged countless miles reporting on the world of high stakes gambling.