The SODA Blog

The official blog of the Sportsplex Operators & Developers Association

New Jersey Sports Betting Battle Continues as Revenue Slides !

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New Jersey fired back at the major sports leagues and the US Department of Justice this weekend, while at the same time posting yet another decline in monthly gaming revenue in Atlantic City.

The US Department of Justice and five sports leagues filed briefs last week for the June 26th showdown in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit over whether New Jersey has the right to legalize sports betting within its borders.  New Jersey filed its own brief on Friday, as did two other groups supporting the State’s position.

New Jersey’s main points are that the sports leagues lack standing and that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act(PASPA) is unconstitutional as it exempts four states from its enforcement and fails to provide regulatory framework.

New Jersey also alleges that the DOJ changed its position on what it hopes to prevent in New Jersey, including the contention that New Jersey could simply remove its prohibition on sports betting without outright legalizing and regulating it.  In reaction to this, New Jersey states:

…the notion that Congress enacted PASPA to deregulate sports wagering is, on its face, absurd.

Briefs have also been filed by top New Jersey Democrats and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.  The New Jersey Democrats contend that their accountability by voters has been threatened and use the anti-commandeering doctrine to make their point.

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association states that the one year window New Jersey would have been allowed to legalize sports betting in 1993 was not an election year and residents could not have voted for lawmakers that supported sports betting in the hopes of beating the clock.  The Horsemen also assert that they would have been excluded from offering sports betting if a law was passed during the one year window.  A clause in PASPA would have only allowed Atlantic City casinos to offer sports betting had the state met the December 31, 1993 deadline to legalize sports betting.

Both briefs also make some of the same points the State makes.

Sports betting is a feature that state lawmakers hope will increase visitation and revenue at ailing Atlantic City casinos. Sports betting would also be allowed at New Jersey racetracks, including the Meadowlands, home of the next Super Bowl.

Atlantic City Gaming Revenue Down in May

As expected, May was another bad month in Atlantic City, though it was better than previous months in 2013.  Taxable gaming revenue declined 3.8% in May.  Four of Atlantic City’s twelves casinos posted positive results for the month.  Those casinos were Borgata (4.8%), Caesars (6.9%), Resorts (20%) and Atlantic Club (24.5%).  Trump Plaza was the biggest loser with a 27.1% decline, while the multibillion dollar Revel declined 19.6% and placed tenth in the market in terms of gaming revenue.  Revel won just $11,2 million from its slots and tables during May.

Atlantic City casinos have posted a cumulative decline of 10.4% year-to-date.  The Atlantic Club, the casino that was the subject of a failed takeover attempt by PokerStars, is the only casino that is positive over last year’s casino win this year.  The Atlantic Club’s 2013 gaming revenue is up 26.5% over the first five months of 2012.

Source:  by JOHN MEHAFFEY

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