Claims the law is unconstitutional and infringes on state sovereignty
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/11/2013 -- New Jersey is making a strong push to allow the use of legal sports wagering at casinos and horse racing tracks. The latest maneuver is largely hinged upon the argument that the 20-year-old federal sports ban is unconstitutional.
Despite the argument the U.S. Department of Justice defended the 1992 federal ban, which is called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. In a brief that was filed on Friday in a federal court, the U.S. Department noted “New Jersey does not have the ability” to challenge the law’s constitutionality.
It is the latest development in a lawsuit that has been brought up by the National Collegiate Athletic Associations, as well as the nation's four largest professional sporting leagues. The moved is aimed to stop the state's effort, and the Department of Justice is now intervening on those leagues behalf.
“(The federal law) is a constitutional exercise of congressional authority,” the brief reads, “and it should be upheld.”
New Jersey stands by its claim that the ban is unconstitutional, stating that the law challenges states' rights, and is thus unconstitutional. The law reaches across 46 states, and is not applied in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, or Montana.
“They’re saying it’s constitutional. We say that’s ridiculous,” said State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), the sponsor of the state’s sports betting bill. “It makes an exception (for some states) … and it leaves us behind the eight ball.”
The Department of Justice released a brief regarding the law, noting that the provisions
“are rational methods of achieving Congress’ purposes of stopping the spread of wagering and of guarding the integrity of athletic competitions.”
Lesniak said he wasn’t swayed after reading the brief. “They’re saying we can’t have legal sports betting, but they allow illegal sports betting to go on,” he said. “I think the court will see the foolishness of that.”
Charles Miller, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, declined further comment. “Our filing speaks for itself,” he said in an e-mail.
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