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News On US Sports Betting Laws

By: Joe Valentino, Monday April 8th 2013
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Online casino players are primarily concerned with what is happening within their space. But online casinos exist within the larger framework of online gambling, which exists within the overall gambling sphere. It is advisable to keep abreast of the major events in the larger spheres. Two states in the US are working hard to legalize sports betting, which is currently banned in all but four of the states under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

New Jersey recently passed a law allowing intrastate sports betting. The national sports leagues and the US Department of Justice opposed the law and it was struck down by Judge Michael Shipp. The state of New Jersey went in appeal against the order. Now, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals has set the schedule for the hearings after some debate from both parties. The date that has been set is earlier than that expected by the US gambling fraternity. The court has agreed to New Jersey’s proposal of a 24-day schedule to enable the state to present its arguments. A further 24 days will be allowed to the sports leagues and the Department of Justice to present their arguments. New Jersey will then be a final seven days to respond. The hearing begins on April 29.

It is more than evident that whatever the outcome of the hearing, the matter will not end. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has publicly stated that if the appeal fails he is prepared to take the issue all the way to the US Supreme Court. The Department of Justice and the sports leagues are equally determined to fight till the end. If New Jersey is allowed to legalize sports betting then it will be a matter of only months before several other states come up with their own acts.

California is already down the same path though it has yet to enact its law. Senator Rod Wright’s bill SB190 is scheduled for a hearing by the California state Senate Governmental Organization Committee on April 23. The bill aims to introduce sports betting controlled by existing licensed gambling entities in the state. Existing licensed gambling entities cover owners or operators of gambling establishments, owners or operators of horse racing tracks, and horse racing associations. The sports betting envisages wagering on professional and collegiate sports or athletic events, other than on events that take place in California or in which any California college team participates. These exclusions have been made to preempt allegations that sports betting could lead to match fixing. If the bill gets passed in the Senate and the House and receives the governor’s assent then it will automatically be challenged by the US Department of Justice. Hence Californian legislators will be closely watching the progress of the New Jersey appeal.

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