Three Possible Outcomes For The New Jersey Sports Betting Case

[toc]Now that the US Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in Christie vs. NCAA, the only thing we can do now is wait for the outcome of the sports betting case.

And speculate about it.

What will the Supreme Court ultimately decide about the federal sports wagering ban — PASPA — and the legality of NJ’s sports betting law? Will New Jersey get to offer sports betting next year? Here’s a look at the most likely scenarios.

1. PASPA is unconstitutional: Sports betting proliferates

Most Supreme Court observers and legal analysts seem to agree that New Jersey is a favorite to win its case to offer sports betting. There are a couple of ways that could happen.

One way? A majority of SCOTUS justices (there are nine) find that PASPA unconstitutionally “commandeers” New Jersey into keeping its prohibition of sports wagering on the books.

PASPA doesn’t actually ban sports betting at the federal level. It just freezes in place state laws that were already in place in 1992, when the law was enacted.

If the nation’s highest court says that PASPA is unconstitutional, it has two massive potential ramifications:

  • New Jersey could start offering sports betting almost immediately.
  • Other states would be free to repeal their sports betting prohibitions and start instituting new laws regulating the activity.

2. New Jersey can offer sports betting under PASPA: Narrow victory

New Jersey could also still win if the court finds that PASPA is constitutional.

The court could find both that PASPA is a good federal law and that New Jersey’s partial repeal is OK under PASPA.

That result could mean that the state government wouldn’t be able to come back and regulate, tax and license the activity. The law, as written, only makes it legal to offer sports wagering at Atlantic City casinos and at racetracks in the state.

New Jersey would take an end result where it could offer sports betting, but the scenario in No. 1 is what the state would prefer, and what it argued for in court.

3. PASPA is constitutional: No NJ sports betting

The worst-case scenario for New Jersey? The court says PASPA is constitutional, and New Jersey’s repeal is in violation of it.

That means no New Jersey sports betting any time soon. And no new sports betting anywhere else for that matter.

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When will we find out for NJ sports betting?

The Supreme Court will be releasing decisions in the first half of 2018 for cases it has heard this fall.

The soonest a decision could be rendered is in January. It’s far more likely, however, that a decision will come in March or later. June would be the latest we hear about what SCOTUS will rule.

So the waiting will continue for a few more months, at a minimum. And one of the scenarios above is the most likely outcome.

About the Author

Warren Jones

Aside from his role as editor at, Warren Jones writes extensively about the legal online gaming and US online poker industries, having played poker recreationally for his entire adult life. He has also covered sports for The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner, among others.