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Trump Administration Files Brief Supporting NFL In N.J. Sports Betting Case

Trump Administration Files Brief Supporting NFL In N.J. Sports Betting Case

On Monday, the Trump Administration filed a brief via the Office of the Solicitor General in support of the NFL in their opposition of bringing legalized sports betting to the state of New Jersey. Other plaintiffs in the NJ sports betting case include three other professional leagues and the NCAA.

Inside The Supreme Court Brief

U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed the 51-page brief with the U.S. Supreme Court ahead of the December 4th deadline. The document supports the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB in their belief that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is constitutional. The Petitioners in Christie v. NCAA, which includes the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, argue that the federal ban violates the Tenth Amendment as relates to state sovereignty commandeering. The Solicitor General argues this point in the following section of the brief:

“Preempting those laws undoubtedly prevents some States from adopting their favored policies—indeed, that was the point. But Section 3702(1)’s preemption of state laws that conflict with federal policy is not impermissible commandeering because it does not compel the States to enact, maintain, or enforce federally prescribed regulations.”

Francisco also discusses the severability of one of the key clauses in PASPA, which means that the Court would not necessarily have to rule on constitutionality versus unconstitutionality. The SG writes that §3702(2), which prohibits “a person to sponsor, operate, advertise, or promote, pursuant to the law or compact of a governmental entity”, could stand on its own without §3702(1). The latter section makes it unlawful for “a governmental entity to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license” a sportsbook.

The suggestion would remedy the complaint of PASPA being unconstitutional as currently written, which would undoubtedly cause New Jersey to shift their argument.

Chris Christie Calls Out The NFL

Governor Chris Christie has been working diligently to bring legalized sports betting to New Jersey for more than five years. Though a brief was filed earlier this year by the SG in opposition of the NJ sports betting case, Christie was vocal regarding his opinion on the latest submission. In an interview on Real Sports with Bryant Gumble, the NJ Governor expressed how he felt that the level of “hypocrisy” was overwhelming.

“They say because we have the Giants and the Jets and the Devils that somehow we shouldn’t be allowed to have gambling here because somehow it will threaten the integrity of the game. Well, [are] you kidding? How isn’t it threatening the integrity of the game in Las Vegas for the NHL and the NFL?”

Christie goes on to discuss how moving teams to the gambling capital of America could be an indication that the leagues know that regulated sports betting is on the horizon, or that they at least want to have bargaining chips in line when the change does occur.

“I think not only do they want a piece, but they want to determine the size of their piece,” Christie said. “And I think they think they have a much better chance to do that by negotiating just with Congress than they do with 49 other states.”

The Final Verdict

LegalGamblingUSA knows both sides still have some time before SCOTUS issues a verdict on the New Jersey sports betting case. The case will be heard during the Supreme Court’s October Term, for the session beginning November 27th, 2017. Oral arguments for Christie v. NCAA are scheduled for Monday, December 4th, with the SCOTUS website stating that “all cases argued during a Term of Court are decided before the summer recess begins, usually by the end of June.”