. But a similar fight is underway in New Jersey, one that will soon reach the US Supreme Court.
New Jersey has been fighting to legalize sportsbetting for years, with Governor Chris Christie leading the charge for reform. The case was taken before lower courts, where New Jersey fought against North America’s major sports leagues – which wanted to maintain the status quo.
In the end, the courts sided with the leagues, though Christie vowed to take the case before the Supreme Court. Sportsbetting is one of Christie’s plans to inject new streams of revenue into struggling Atlantic City casinos, which are also live with online casino games.
The roadblock to sportsbetting reform in New Jersey is the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which banned sportsbetting in most jurisdictions across the country. However, four states were ‘grandfathered’ into the Act – Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana, as those four states already had licensed sportsbooks in operation.
New Jersey was given an opportunity to become the fifth state with licensed sportsbooks, but the government of the day failed to implement any reforms before the expiration date in 1993. As a result, sportsbetting was shelved until the Christie administration, which was coping with sagging fortunes in Atlantic City.
The boardwalk casinos did not have the same competition in 1992 that they do today. Casinos in neighbouring states have popped up over the years, eating away a sizeable chunk of gambling tourists who used to travel to Atlantic City. Christie believes legalized sportsbetting can provide the casinos an edge over counterparts in other jurisdictions.
The sportsbetting appeal is currently before the US Supreme Court, but an official ruling is unlikely to occur for some time.