This morning, the NCAA and the four professional sports leagues filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement David Rebuck, and New Jersey Racing Commission Executive Director Frank Zanzuccki, seeking to enjoin New Jersey's efforts to implement sports wagering in Atlantic City casinos and at New Jersey's racetracks.
The lawsuit, captioned NCAA v. Christie and filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in Trenton, seeks an injunction prohibiting the state from implementing the provisions of the sports wagering law signed by Governor Christie in January 2012. Since the signing of that legislation, the Division of Gaming Enforcement has published draft regulations that would control sports betting at casinos and racetracks.
The leagues argue that New Jersey's efforts violate the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act ("PASPA"). According to the leagues, PASPA prohibits sports betting in the United States except under limited circumstances, none of which exist with respect to New Jersey. The leagues argue that sports betting threatens the integrity of the sports and is at odds with the principle that "professional athletic contests must be determined, and must be perceived by the public as being determined, solely on the basis of honest athletic competition."
The lawsuit cites recent statements by government officials and racing industry personnel stating that they intend to move forward promptly with the implementation of sports betting once the Division of Gaming Enforcement approves the draft regulations. The leagues argue that the implementation of sports betting will irreparably damage the leagues' reputation and goodwill, and, as a result, seek a declaration that the recent New Jersey legislation violates PASPA and an order enjoining any New Jersey government official from implementing the sports betting legislation.