Late last Friday, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp issued a permanent injunction prohibiting New Jersey from implementing its latest attempt to legalize sports betting. The NCAA and the major sports leagues (“Leagues”) were again successful in upholding the standards of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PAPSA”), a federal law signed by President George H.W. Bush that was designed to prevent athletes and coaches from purposely affecting the outcome of games. In short, Judge Shipp ruled states can repeal their prohibition on sports betting (following the Third Circuit decision indicating there is a way around PAPSA) and are permitted to “decide the exact contours” of how to prohibit sports betting within the confines of any given state. Judge Shipp further stated:
New Jersey’s current desire to allow sports wagering within its borders is not unique to the State. While New Jersey is at the forefront of this movement, many states around the country appear poised to join should New Jersey provide a roadmap around PASPA. New Jersey’s most recent legislation does not provide such a roadmap.
As a result, to the extent the people of New Jersey disagree with PASPA, their remedy is to repeal the state’s prohibition consistent with the Third Circuit’s directive or work towards a repeal or amendment of PASPA in Congress.
Although the courts have made the application of PAPSA quite confusing, the simple conclusion is the Leagues were successful in prohibiting wagering on sporting events in New Jersey. New Jersey has already filed a notice of appeal that will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.