On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court shot down New Jersey’s law that would have legalized sports betting at the state’s racetracks and casinos.
On Thursday, New Jersey took the first official step toward trying to circumvent the federal law that blocked the move.
According to Brent Johnson of the Newark Star-Ledger, the New Jersey House and Senate separately passed legislation that would repeal state laws prohibiting sports betting in New Jersey, which in turn would allow certain private companies to launch betting enterprises without state involvement. The sponsors of the bill believe the feds won’t interfere, comparing the situation to the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington — even though marijuana remains a controlled substance from the perspective of the federal government.
That could be a major leap of logic and faith, given that the NFL and the other sports leagues that filed suit over the state’s previous plan have the resources and the incentive to push the Justice Department to intervene. Also, the bill would not legalize betting generally but only at racetracks and casinos.
It’s unclear whether Governor Chris Christie will sign the bill.
The NFL had no comment earlier this week when the New Jersey Plan B was introduced. It remains to be seen whether the league has anything to say if/when the fallback effort to legalize sports gambling in a state where 1/16th of the NFL’s teams reside becomes law.
UPDATE 3:02 p.m. ET: The league still has no comment on the situation.