The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to take up a dispute over whether the major pro sports leagues and the NCAA have to pay millions of dollars to a New Jersey horse racing association over sports betting litigation.
The case now goes back to federal court in New Jersey, where a judge will consider evidence from both sides and decide how much the leagues have to pay.
The leagues had appealed a ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that held in favor of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. The association sued the leagues in 2018 after the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting.
The suit alleged the leagues owe a $3.4 million bond, plus interest, that the leagues put up in 2014 to secure losses that might be suffered during the month that a judge’s restraining order blocked Monmouth Park Racetrack from offering sports betting.
The horsemen’s suit alleged the leagues acted in bad faith in seeking the order, because the leagues were opposing legalized sports betting at the same time they were promoting and endorsing businesses that made millions from fantasy sports games that rely on individual player performances.
It also claimed the racetrack was wrongfully prevented from offering sports betting at the time because the judge’s order was based on a federal ban later determined to be unconstitutional.
“A party is wrongfully enjoined when it turns out that that party had a right all along to do what it was enjoined from doing,” the 3rd Circuit wrote last year.
When the case returns to New Jersey, the judge also will determine whether the horsemen’s association’s claims of damages as high as $150 million for lost sports betting revenue between Oct. 2014 and the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling can go forward.
An email message was left Monday with an attorney representing the leagues in the lawsuit.
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