The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:
New Jersey has made a critical error in its recent quest to circumvent federal law and legalize sports betting in the state.
New Jersey has sought to sidestep a federal court decision prohibiting the state from moving forward with the legalization of sports betting, which is illegal in the entire U.S., aside from Delaware, Oregon, Montana and Nevada, states that had already had laws allowing for the practice grandfathered when the federal ban, The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, came into effect in 1993.
New Jersey has now decriminalized sports betting at the state level for casinos and racetracks, but anyone else engaged in the practice still faces state-level criminal penalties.
Either the state is using other gaming licenses as de facto sports betting licenses which is illegal under federal law or New Jersey is violating the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by allowing some to engage in sports betting while criminalizing others.
If it is legal under state law for a New Jersey racetrack or casino to engage in sports betting operations, then it is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the U.S Constitution for the state to continue criminalizing regular citizens doing the same thing, barring a change in federal law.
Someone facing sports betting charges in New Jersey should make a motion to dismiss their charges based on this constitutional violation and set a precedent.