Trump administration sides with NFL in sports betting case

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Trump administration is siding with professional sports leagues in their opposition to allowing New Jersey to offer sports betting at its casinos and racetracks.

The solicitor general’s office filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the leagues. The court is scheduled to hear the case in December.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s administration is challenging a 1992 federal law that bans gambling on sports in all but four states. Christie sees sports betting as a way to boost the industries.

In an interview Tuesday on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” Christie said the leagues were hypocrites for opposing sports betting while having professional hockey and football teams in Las Vegas, where sports gambling is allowed.

Christie says the leagues “no longer have moral ground.”

New Jersey officials say the high court should strike down a ban on sports betting in all but four states because it wrongly forces states to enforce a regulation that Congress wants.

The high court will hear New Jersey’s argument that the ban is not legal because it exceeds the authority of Congress. The state has been trying for nearly a decade to legalize sports betting and grab a share of the estimated $150 billion that is bet illegally on sports each year.

After being rebuffed in its efforts to regulate legal sports betting, New Jersey tried a different tactic: repealing its regulations regarding sports betting, leaving no law in place at all.

The question to be decided by the justices is: Does a federal statute that prohibits modification or repeal of state-law prohibitions on private conduct impermissibly usurp the regulatory power of states?

Major professional leagues and collegiate sports oppose New Jersey’s effort to legalize sports betting, saying it would threaten the perceived integrity of the games.