Pennsylvania Sports Betting On Hold, As NJ Loses Sports Betting Case

Dustin Gouker August 11, 2016
Pennsylvania sports betting

Pennsylvania’s efforts to legalize sports betting will have to stay on hold after its neighbor to the east lost in court again.

New Jersey loses on sports betting, one more time

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals again ruled against New Jersey in its attempt to offer legal sports betting in the state.

This time around, an “en banc” panel of 12 judges sided with the plaintiffs in the case — the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA and Department of Justice. The court ruled against NJ by a 9-3 margin.

That comes after NJ lost its appeal in front of a panel of three judges from the same court in the summer of 2015.

The court held that the NJ sports law passed in 2014 — which would allow racetracks and casinos to offer sports betting — was in violation of PASPA. That is the federal law that prohibits sports wagering of any type except for in a handful of states.

What that means for PA

The bottom line for Pennsylvania: The NJ case means the commonwealth won’t be able to offer sports betting any time soon.

Pennsylvania is in the Third Circuit, as well. So a victory by New Jersey meant that Pennsylvania could have passed a law — a “partial repeal” of its sports betting prohibition — if it so desired. The ruling by the court would have been binding in PA and Delaware, as well.

As it stands, however, PASPA remains in force, and now it has the precedent of an en banc majority on its side. There is the possibility of a Supreme Court appeal, but that appears to be a long shot.

PA has been aggressive on sports betting

PA casinos, of course, would love to be able to offer sports wagering alongside its other gambling offerings. Nevada makes a lot of money on sports betting annually.

Previously, the PA House passed a resolution asking for the US Congress to repeal PASPA. Right now, any action by federal lawmakers dealing with sports betting appears to be years off.

The state is still considering legislation dealing with daily fantasy sports, which could come up this fall.

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