Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

In Panel Talk, Lawyer Details Challenge to Sports-Betting Ban

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

In Panel Talk, Lawyer Details Challenge to Sports-Betting Ban

Article excerpt

Attorney Ted Olson says he no longer works for New Jersey regarding the state's failed attempt to overturn a federal sports betting law -- but that didn't stop him from offering a spirited challenge Sunday to the 1992 law in question at an American Bar Association panel discussion in Boston.

Olson - winner of the 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential election case before the U.S. Supreme Court - stressed that he was speaking "as an individual," since the U.S. Supreme Court declined in June to take the case.

Afterward, Olson said he was aware of Governor Christie's veto on Friday of the state legislature's revised sports betting bill, passed only three days after the nation's top court passed on the issue.

While Christie described that law as "rushed" and a "novel attempt," he seemed to open the door to taking another crack at the 22-year-old Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. He said that the opinion by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last summer "may not have foreclosed all legal avenues for permitting sports wagering within the state."

Olson declined to say whether, if asked, he might help in what Christie called "exploring legally sound" alternatives that would allow New Jersey racetracks and Atlantic City casinos to offer Vegas- style sports betting.

But he revived some points from his arguments before the U.S. District Court, the 3rd Circuit and the Supreme Court, including what he said was an estimated $500 billion annually wagered on sports in the United States. With only $4 billion wagered legally in Nevada, Olson said the law had been unsuccessful in stopping the spread of such gambling.

"It's taking place already," Olson said, and New Jersey would like to control who does it.

The bill vetoed by Christie sought to exploit a potential loophole suggested by federal attorneys, who had told each court that the federal law was not an impermissible power play by Congress over states. …

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