In the words of well respected sports figure Yogi Berra, "it's like deja vu all over again."
In the wake of Friday's enactment of a new sports wagering law in New Jersey, today the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against New Jersey seeking to enjoin the implementation of the new bill approved by the Governor on October 17. We covered that here.
The Legaues refer to the new sports betting law as "in defiance of the Court's February 28, 2013 Order and in clear and flagrant violation of federal law." The Leagues argue that, while "styled as a repeal," the new sports wagering law is a de facto authorization of sports betting in violation of PASPA. The Leagues argue that because the repeal is limited to venues that are already state licensed and regulated, the new law is essentially an authorization in violation of PASPA rather than a true repeal.
The Leagues also cite the New Jersey Constitution, arguing that under the Constitution the Legislature cannot permit any form of gambling in Atlantic City's casinos unless the games are specifically authorized by law - and if the games are authorized by law, they violate PASPA. The Leagues argue that while the new legislation repeals the prohibition on sports betting at casinos, it does not repeal the requirement that a casino or a racetrack be licensed and comply with other state regulations.
The Leagues also argue that under no circumstances could Monmouth Park offer sports betting because it is owned by the state, which would result in the state directly sponsoring sports wagering. Monmouth Park is under a long term lease to private entities, however, so it will remain to be seen whether that argument remains valid.
The Leagues have not yet filed for a TRO or a preliminary injunction, but their complaint suggests they will suffer irreparable harm if sports wagering begins in New Jersey, signaling their likely intent to file for an injunction.