The four major professional American sports leagues and the NCAA have filed a lawsuit to block sports wagering in New Jersey.
AOL/Sporting News.com's Fanhouse reports that Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League joined the NCAA, collegiate sports' governing body, in filing a complaint in federal court in Trenton on Tuesday to block proposed legislation that would legalize sports betting in the Garden State.
A news release put out by the NBA states the following:
The leagues and the NCAA assert that the state’s recently announced decision to offer sports betting violates long-standing federal law. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) became law in 1992 and prohibits states from operating a lottery or betting scheme based on pro or college games. This law is also known as the Bradley Act for its proponent, then New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley."
The law provided a one-year window, from January 1, 1993 to January 1, 1994, during which New Jersey was afforded the opportunity to authorize sports betting. The state declined that opportunity and has been barred by federal law from conducting sports gambling.
State Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union County), the bill's primary sponsor, welcomed the news of the lawsuit, saying it will provide proponents of sports gambling in New Jersey with the opportunity for "our day in court to prove that the federal ban on sports wagering is unconstitutional."
"By moving forward with a law to legalize sports wagering in New Jersey—a law that was approved overwhelmingly by the voting public of New Jersey—we drew a line in the sand and dared the sports organizations to cross it," Lesniak said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon.
"Their lawsuit today means they’ve played right into our hands, and now they have the burden of defending the constitutionality of an unfair sports wagering ban which gives four states in the country—and off-shore betting operators and organized crime—a monopoly to the detriment of everybody else."
A majority of New Jersey voters indicated in a non-binding referendum last year that they approve of legalized sports gambling here. The result had roughly 65% of voters in favor of legalizing sports betting.