According to well-known US sports betting attorney Jeff Ifrah, the lawsuit by the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA seeking to block enforcement of the New Jersey Sports Wagering Law doesn’t make much sense. “The new law means racetracks and casinos will have the protection of state law on their side when they start offering sports betting at their locations,” Ifrah said.
“The leagues want to stop the increase of legalized sports betting because the leagues argue it will hurt the integrity of the game. However, it’s hard to understand how this can be right with sports betting already legal in Nevada, and Delaware and most of the rest of the world.”
Despite the fact New Jersey citizens voted in favor of sports betting years ago, the leagues have been very determined to use federal law to put a stop to the expansion of state-regulated sports betting. “The leagues are businesses—plain and simple—and right now they don’t believe state expansion of sports betting is good for their business,” Ifrah said.
The majority of media articles are focused on how sports betting will be bad for the leagues. However, sports betting can have a positive impact as it increases the popularity of sports for both current sports enthusiasts and those who are not regular sports followers.
“Sports viewership is primarily tied to fans interested in the outcome of their own team. As a result, teams with small viewership markets do not do well and teams that are not performing well or already not playoff eligible see reduced viewers,” Ifrah said. “Sports betting changes that entire mix because the sports bettor has an interest in the outcome of the game, which is not purely one of pride but also financial.”
Ifrah added that “Governor Christie has been determined since day one to implement the will of the voters of New Jersey and help struggling race tracks and casinos bring in new sources of revenue. The Governor is not going to be surprised or distracted by the latest actions by the leagues.”