The American Gaming Association filed a brief on Tuesday supporting Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in his upcoming Supreme Court fight with top U.S. athletic leagues over sports betting.
Christie's team argues that federal law banning sports betting violates states protections under the 10th Amendment. More than two decades ago, New Jersey failed to take advantage of a window in federal law to run sports gambling, but then decided to do so on its own in 2011.
That decision has been challenged in lower courts, and the American Gaming Association's brief sided by Christie by saying federal law is too restrictive, has only led to a rise in illegal sports betting, and has prevented states from developing their own systems.
"Regulation of sports betting needs to be accomplished in a sensible manner that promotes, rather than thwarts, the strictures and principles of federalism," the group said in its brief. "States like New Jersey are compelled, at the federal government's direction, to keep their antiquated sports-betting laws and regulations effectively frozen in place at a federal standard. That result is irreconcilable with the constitutional system of dual sovereignty and dangerous in its own right."
The National Collegiate Athletic Association challenged the New Jersey law, along with the NBA, NFL, NHL, and Major League Baseball. The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for oral arguments this term in the sports gambling case, which will be closely watched as its outcome could change sports gambling rules throughout the country.
Christie and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association asked the Supreme Court to review lower court rulings. The horsemen's association that sided with Christie owns a racetrack that counts on sports betting to remain financially viable.