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Court Puts New Jersey Sports Betting on Hold

Oct 28, 2014 - by Monica Erdei
Judge Shipp issues a temporary restraining order on sports betting operations in New Jersey

Judge Shipp issues a temporary restraining order on sports betting operations in New Jersey

A federal judge intervened to temporarily block New Jersey’s plans to allow sports betting at the state’s racetrack and casinos.

State lawmakers have been trying to find ways to bring sports betting to New Jersey for years, but it looks like all attempts are destined to fail. A few weeks ago, officials passed a bill allowing licensed casinos and racetracks to accept wagers.

After Governor Chris Christie signed the document into law and Monmouth Park said it was ready to start taking bets last Sunday, professional sports leagues challenged the decision in court, asking the judge to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent this from happening.

U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp decided to grant the request made by the National Football League, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and other sports groups, but did not rule on the merits of the issue yet. A full hearing will be scheduled in the future.

A spokesman for Christie emphasized that the restraining order is temporary and added: “We continue to have full confidence in the strength and appropriateness of our position as we move forward in the litigation.”

USA Today: Judge: New Jersey can’t launch sports betting

Latest gambling news announce that a federal judge decided not to allow casinos and racetracks in New Jersey to start taking sports bets. In his ruling late Friday, US District Court Judge Michael Shipp put in place a temporary restraining order to prevent state operators from offering such services last week.

Monmouth Park was planning on giving its bookmaking operations a test run on Sunday, when it would have accepted bets on NFL games, but the court said Governor Chris Christie can’t launch sports betting in the state for now.

Monmouth Park officials were expecting about 10,000 people to rush to the track this Sunday to bet on Jets-Bills, Eagles-Cardinals, as well as on other NFL games. The track was going to open as early as 7 am, in order to allow visitors to place wagers on the Lions-Falcons game played in London at 9:30 am E.T.

But the NFL and other American sports leagues have filed a complaint asking the judge to stop state operators from taking bets immediately, invoking a 1992 federal law restricting sports betting to Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana.

A final decision will be made only after a full hearing, but for now the judge has issued a restraining order stopping Monmouth Park from going ahead with its plans. Attorneys representing the racetrack have argued that the business won’t survive without this new source of revenue.

NESN: Judge Grants Leagues’ Request, Stops N.J. Sports Betting Temporarily

Following a request from four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA, a federal judge issued a restraining order preventing New Jersey operators from taking sports bets for now. The request was made by the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA, who went to court over a new bill signed by Governor Chris Christie, allowing casinos and racetracks in the state to offer betting services.

Under current gambling laws, Nevada is the only state allowed to offer betting on individual games at local bookmakers. Delaware also offers multi-game parlay pools, requiring players to pick several games correctly before winning any money.

“More legal gambling leads to more total gambling, which in turns leads to an increased incentive to fix plaintiffs’ matches,” Shipp said in court last Friday, adding that sports betting in New Jersey “would engender the same ills” that lawmakers sought to combat when they came up with the 1992 federal law.

Attorneys representing the sports organizations have argued that the leagues would suffer irreparable harm if such offers were available in the state. The lawsuit will proceed and the court will schedule a full hearing, but Shipp said a temporary restraining order was necessary to make sure that the matter is properly debated in court first.

Wall Street Journal: Judge Blocks Bid to Legalize Sports Betting in New Jersey

A previous attempt to overturn the sports betting ban and allow New Jersey players to bet on sports failed, and officials are not sure what will happen next. For now, Nevada continues to remain the only state where sports betting is fully legal. Delaware has a few similar operations, but the state only offers multi-game parlay pools.

While Atlantic City casinos said they would wait for the judge’s decision before starting any bookmaking operations, Monmouth Park Racetrack had originally planned to begin sports betting this weekend. The venue’s plans were put on hold by the restraining order.

Dennis Drazin, the operator of Monmouth Park, wrote in a recent statement: “While we are disappointed not to be able to start this Sunday, we are confident that sports betting will be coming to New Jersey in the very near future.”

While preventing the racetrack from starting its new operations, Judge Shipp also requested the five plaintiffs to put up a $1.7 million bond, to cover New Jersey’s potential revenue losses should the state eventually win the argument. The judge also said the temporary restraining order only applies to sports scores at events run by the four leagues and the NCAA.

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