New Jersey is currently trying to remove a federal ban on sports betting in all states except four, having appealed to the US supreme court to declare the ban unconstitutional. The federal appeals panel ruled against New Jersey on the matter, which is why the state has gone all the way to supreme court with these two questions: Does the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act usurp state authority, in violation of the 10th amendment? And does its granting permission to only four states to conduct sports betting violate the principal of equal sovereignty?
The panel ruled that if New Jersey allows sports betting it would go against the federal law, which has limited sports betting to states that legalized it prior to a 1991 deadline. Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon received the rights to offer sports betting to their citizens.
New Jersey states in its appeal which was filed February 12th that the federal law is against the constitution as it treats states differently. While there are no guarantees that the supreme court will do a hearing on the appeal, New Jersey's chance lies in the way that the federal law has been written.
There is no federal law directly saying that it is not legal for individuals to offer sports betting, instead NJ state believes that the Amateur Sports Protection Act makes it illegal for a government entity to license or authorize sports betting activities.
"The ability of the states to convey a 'label of legitimacy' on private conduct lies at the heart of their retained sovereignty," The states appeal states.
"Congress may express its own disapproval of sports wagering through direct regulation of the activity, but, having declined to enact any such direct regulation, has no authority to regulate the approval or disapproval expressed by the states."
New Jersey hopes that their appeal will end up in a lift of the sports betting ban for the state, but the chances of it happening are not very high. Both the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL have all spoken against allowing sports betting in the state and FBI have joined their side.