If online sportsbooks in the USA are ever going to be regulated, the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) will have to be overturned or at least massively reworked. A federal lawsuit brought by Interactive Media & Gaming Association (iMEGA), among others, against the United States Department of Justice seeks to do just that – and after legal procedures on Tuesday, the plantiffs now have time to prepare the next part of their case.
Gambling interests for the plaintiffs include New Jersey state senators Ray Lesniak and Stephen Sweeney plus various horse racing groups from the state in addition to iMEGA. This consortium is arguing a case of state’s rights against the current American gambling law: “The government’s argument is filled with contradictions,” said iMEGA president Joe Brennan. “For example, the government says that New Jersey is free to pass a law allowing sports betting. Except that there is a federal law precisely making any New Jersey statute unenforceable.”
PASPA essentially made it unlawful for any level of government-run entity to offer sports betting of any sort. Four states – Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana – were exempt from the statute, therefore making New Jersey the only state truly impacted by the new law. The other problem the lawsuit seeks to address in the lack of regulation for online gambling in the bill.
Lesniak himself has also introduced a bill in the state senate that would allow Atlantic City casinos to offer online gambling within New Jersey as a solution for the gambling haven’s well-publicized economic woes.
On Tuesday, the federal government issued a rebuttal to the plaintiffs’ case, and the plaintiffs now have until November 1 to respond in kind. The almost certain appeal by the losing side would take place in the Federal Court of Appeals, which is just one rung below the Supreme Court in the U.S. legal system.