New Jersey seeks right to bet on sports

Jul 1, 2013 6:10 PM

Atty. Ted Olson, a former U.S. Solicitor General, was an attorney involved in the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving the Voting Rights Act, a decision that favored his position.

Olson now hopes jurists on the Appeals Court will favor his position when he argues the federal government is discriminating against New Jersey and 47 other states when it bars them from conducting sports betting.

New Jersey officials say they hope by bringing suit against the feds on the sports gambling issue they will at least “shine a light” on it. Behind the suit is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who has adamantly insisted his state should be permitted to conduct sports betting the same as Nevada and three other states.

The N.J. suit is opposed by the U.S. Justice Department, the NCAA and the four major sports leagues. Representing the major leagues is another former U.S. Solicitor General, Paul Clement. He argues, “They’re our games, after all, and we have a legitimate interest in controlling whether these games are going to be sporting events and not gambling events.”

The purpose of Congress’ move to limit gambling on sports, said U.S. Atty. Paul J. Fishman, was to “limit the ills of sports betting.”

During arguments, the three-judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Court asked whether the leagues had the right to limit betting on the games since they could “tarnish” the sports.

Olson replied, “What New Jersey wants to do is shine a light on that activity” by opening the books and protecting potential victims.

While Olson served in Washington as the Solicitor General, his wife was an airplane victim in the September 11 attack by terrorists who commandeered the planes and crashed them in New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.