12/18/2012 5:24PM

Federal judge to rule on New Jersey sports betting challenge by Friday


A U.S. federal judge indicated after a hearing on Tuesday that he would issue a ruling by Friday as to whether professional sports leagues have standing to challenge a New Jersey law that would allow gambling on sports at the state's casinos and racetracks, according to an official who attended the hearing.

Dennis Drazin, the top official at Monmouth Park, said after the hearing that Judge Michael Shipp of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey made the statement after hearing one hour of testimony from attorneys representing the state and the sports leagues. The case is being closely watched because of its ramifications on the national gambling landscape.

Monmouth Park is one of three New Jersey tracks that would be eligible to offer betting on sports if the challenge is unsuccessful - and if federal authorities do not attempt to intervene. In a notice issued in late November, Shipp gave the federal government until Jan. 20 to intervene in the case.

Following the passage of a bill pushed by Gov. Chris Christie earlier this year, New Jersey regulators have approved regulations governing sports betting, but they have also placed a moratorium on issuing any licenses until Jan. 9. Monmouth has indicated that it will go forward at that time with offering sports betting.

A coalition of sports leagues including the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and the NCAA filed suit challenging the law in August. The leagues argue that the law violates the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which prohibited states that had not offered sports betting before 1991 from legalizing the practice. New Jersey did not allow sports betting before 1991.