A United States District Court issued a permanent injunction blocking New Jersey's effort to legalize sports betting. In January 2012, Governor Christie signed a state law permitting wagering on professional and collegiate sports (other than games involving New Jersey colleges or college games played in New Jersey) at New Jersey racetracks and Atlantic City casinos. Sports organizations, including the NCAA, NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball, along with the United States government, argued that the state law would undermine the integrity of professional sports. The opponents further argued that the state law was barred under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 ("PASPA"), a federal law that gives just four states (i.e., Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon) the right to engage in sports wagering. New Jersey argued that PASPA was unconstitutional on the ground that it violated states' sovereign rights. New Jersey further argued PASPA unfairly "grandfathered" Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
In issuing the permanent injunction, the court ruled that to the extent New Jersey disagreed with PASPA, its remedy is not through the passage of a state law or through the judiciary, but rather through the repeal or amendment of PASPA in Congress. The permanent injunction prohibits New Jersey from sponsoring, operating, advertising, promoting, licensing or authorizing a lottery, sweepstakes or other betting, gambling or wagering scheme based on amateur or professional games.
New Jersey has appealed the case to the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. A spokesperson for Governor Christie stated that "we believe firmly in the principles of our position on sports betting and that the federal ban is inequitable, violates New Jersey's rights as a state and is unconstitutional. Even the trial judge has noted that he was not likely the final arbiter in the matter. We are confident that the federal court of appeals will conclude that New Jersey should be treated equally with other states."
Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Assn. v. Christie, 12-4947 (U.S. Dist. Ct. N.J. Feb. 28, 2013)