In light of Monmouth Park's stated intention to accept sports wagers beginning October 26, today the professional sports leagues filed an application for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction stopping New Jersey from implementing the sports wagering law signed on October 16.
The Leagues' brief accuses New Jersey of "attempting to devise a way" to get around PASPA's prohibitions on the regulation of sports betting. The brief reiterates the argument set forth in the Complaint that the sports betting law is an authorization, not a repeal. The Leagues argue that New Jersey has not actually repealed anything - it has "exempted from these laws two narrow groups," "in a clear effort to authorize and promote sports wagering that is authorized and regulated by the state."
There are four elements that a party must establish to secure an injunction from a federal court: (1) likelihood of success on the merits, (2) irreparable harm, (3) a balancing of the hardships between the parties shows that the moving party will suffer more harm, and (4) the relief sought is consistent with the public interest. The Leagues argue that they have satisfied this test.
In discussing success on the merits, the Leagues argue that while the Third Circuit has stated that states need not "enact or carry out" prohibitions on sports gambling, it does mean that "they must choose between prohibiting sports gambling or accepting its complete deregulation." The Leagues say that a state "may not choose half-measures that purport to 'repeal' prohibitions, but do so only at state-authorized gambling venues with the inevitable and intended effect of producing state regulated sports gambling." The Leagues say that the state's argument that the state has only repealed its prohibitions is "just word play." The Leagues say that the casinos and racetracks in New Jersey are heavily regulated by the state and that sports betting, therefore, will necessarily exist under the auspices of the state. The Leagues further argue that the Third Circuit gave the state a choice to ban sports betting or implement a complete deregulation of it - not a "novel amalgam of the two."
The Leagues also argue that the New Jersey Constitution prohibits the Legislature from deregulating sports gambling because the Legislature cannot authorize gambling in Atlantic City unless it authorizes it by law, which would contradict PASPA. Thus, the Leagues argue they are likely to succeed on the merits.
The Leagues argue that they will suffer irreparable harm if sports betting begins, citing the "stigmatizing effect" of wagering on their games would have. The Leagues argue that they will suffer significant hardship if sports betting is implemented and the state will suffer no hardship if it is required to obey the law. Finally, the Leagues argue that the public interest favors protecting their federal rights from being violated.
The Court has ordered the State to respond by tomorrow, 10/22, and allowed the Leagues one day thereafter to reply (10/23). The Court will decide whether there will be oral argument and if so will issue an order scheduling it.