AGA Says Congress Must Act on Sports Betting Ban

AGA 10Congressional action appears necessary if sports betting is to be legalized in Atlantic City casinos and elsewhere across the U.S. That’s the conclusion of American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman following this week’s rejection of New Jersey’s effort to get  a court-ordered change in the 1992 act of Congress that banned most forms of sports betting.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling invalidated a 2014  New Jersey law that would have allowed sports betting at casinos and racetracks. The court found New Jersey’s action repealing prohibitions against sports gambling violated the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)..

Gov. Chris Christie and others supporters of legalized sports betting  began efforts to change the law several years ago as a vehicle to revitalize Atlantic City’s casino business but the effort has been denied by the federal courts at every turn.

This week’s rejection by the full nine-member court can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court denied a previous appeal, which has the state probably looking to Congress as the most likely source of change.

Freeman said, “Washington has a responsibility to fix a failed law that it created nearly 25 years ago. A federal government prohibition has driven an illegal, and occasionally dangerous, sports betting market of at least $150 billion annually.

New Jersey’s effort has a lengthy legal history. The four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued the state in 2012, after New Jersey voters approved sports gambling the previous year. The leagues claimed the expansion of legal sports betting to New Jersey would damage the integrity of their games and lead to the likelihood of  game-fixing.

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