If the NFL should lose its new lawsuit against New Jersey aimed at blocking the state from engaging in gambling on pro football games, the league has another weapon in its arsenal.
The Super Bowl.
“If New Jersey goes ahead with its plan and has sports betting, I don’t think there’s a chance in the world of us getting another Super Bowl,” Giants co-owner John Mara said, via USA Today. “I’m not concerned about this Super Bowl, but I will say this: It would be difficult for us to get support of the other owners for another one.”
If it wasn’t too late for the NFL to yank the February 2014 Super Bowl from New Jersey and send it elsewhere, the NFL probably would. And it would be foolish for anyone in New Jersey to think there will be a second Super Bowl in New Jersey if New Jersey allows betting on games like, you know, the Super Bowl.
Then again, it’s foolish to think that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit would ignore the precedent set when the NFL and other sports leagues slammed the door on single-game betting in Delaware. But the man who runs New Jersey thinks that will happen.
“We’re going to win,” Governor Chris Christie said. “I don’t believe the federal government has the right to decide only certain states can have sports gambling. And it does not acknowledge that there are illegal sports gambling going on in every state in America. So why is this more injurious somehow than illegal sports gambling?”
Um, where do we start?
First, and as mentioned above, the federal appeals court that has jurisdiction over New Jersey already has upheld the federal law in question. Second, New Jersey had a one-year window to get into the sports gambling business from January 1, 1993 through January 1, 1994 before the nationwide prohibition launched.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, if Christie is concerned about illegal gambling, he should start enforcing the laws on the books.
Just like the NFL is trying to do, via the federal court system.
Still, in the unlikely event that New Jersey wins in court, New Jersey will be as likely as Las Vegas to host a Super Bowl in the future.