The case aims to take down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), opening up sports betting to all of the states that want it.
SCOTUS granted cert for NJ sports betting case Tuesday
Originally, SCOTUS was supposed to announce its new docket of cases on Monday. The court delayed proceedings a day, giving hope to NJ supporters. Tuesday the court confirmed it will hear the case.
New Jersey was on the losing side of the case twice before. The state still pursued the issue to the Supreme Court. Things looked even worse for its chances when the solicitor general issued an opinion that SCOTUS not hear the case.
Despite these setbacks, the case is now getting an audience with the highest court in the land. The result could potentially open up not just New Jersey sports betting, but sports books in any state that wants them.
New Jersey is often at the forefront of gaming-related issues. NJ online casinos are the only such regulated sites in the nation. The success of that industry is causing other states, like Pennsylvania, to follow suit.
If you are wondering why the Supreme Court is so interested in sports betting, the case actually has larger implications. New Jersey repeatedly argued PASPA violates the Tenth Amendment. The opportunity for SCOTUS to rule on states’ rights issues is likely the draw for hearing this case.
Do not expect it to be heard right away, either. There will probably not be a decision on the case until next year.
Shortly after the SCOTUS announcement, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie commented on the events:
“The fact that the Supreme Court granted cert in this case is a very good sign for sports betting having a future in New Jersey. I’m encouraged by it. We’re not declaring victory, but at least we’re in the game and that’s what [sic] we want to be.”
What comes next for sports betting?
Like Christie said, the battle is nowhere near over. The next step is filing briefs with the court.
New Jersey is the defendant in the case. The plaintiffs are a collection of the major sports leagues as well as the NCAA. New Jersey and the other plaintiffs have 45 days to file, then the leagues have a period of time to file a response.
After that, the plaintiffs get a window to file a response brief. Next comes oral arguments. Those should take place either this fall or early next year.
In the meantime, other states interested in sports betting should probably consider passing some sort of legislation in advance of the ruling. Several states already took that initiative.
Connecticut already passed an amendment paving the way for sports betting if PASPA is struck down. Several other states proposed similar legislation this year as well.
By taking action early, the states can quickly roll out a sports betting offering if the SCOTUS case opens up the opportunity. Otherwise, it may take multiple legislative sessions to set up a framework and start earning tax revenue on the lucrative betting industry.