On January 17, 2012, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law an Act passed by the New Jersey State Legislature purporting to permit wagering at casinos and racetracks on the results of certain collegiate and professional sports or athletic events. Once the gambling law becomes effective, Atlantic City casinos and racetracks across New Jersey will be able to apply for licenses and commence gambling operations on amateur and professional sports.
On August 7, 2012, the NCAA, along with the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL, filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey alleging that the gambling laws enacted by New Jersey violate the terms of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (“PASPA”). The NCAA, and the other leagues, argues that gambling on amateur and professional sports threatens the integrity of sports and is fundamentally at odds with the principles of integrity associated with sports. The NCAA further argues that the proliferation of sports gambling threatens to harm the reputation of the major leagues and could adversely affect the way the public views amateur and professional sports.
PASPA was enacted on October 28, 1992 and became effective on January 1, 1993. It prohibits any person or governmental entity from sponsoring, operating, advertising, promoting, licensing, or authorizing by law or compact “a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based, directly or indirectly (through the use of geographical references or otherwise), on one or more competitive games in which amateur and professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games.” PASPA sets forth only four exceptions, which includes two exceptions relating to previously conducted gambling, a one-year window of time for a state to authorize sports betting (i.e., 1993-1994), and an exception for sports betting for pari-mutuel animal racing and jai-alai games. The NCAA argues that none of the exceptions apply in this case.
As a result, the NCAA, and the other leagues, seek declaratory and injunctive relief by requesting the Court 1) declare that the New Jersey sports gambling law and regulations violate PASPA insofar as they purport to enable the State of New Jersey and its officials to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, and/or authorize sports betting schemes in New Jersey; and 2) preliminarily and permanently enjoining Defendants from implementing or enforcing the sports gambling law and regulations.