In an attempt to boost revenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey officials are considering implementation of a sports-betting program based on a legal theory that has yet to be tested in court. Currently, there is a federal ban on sports betting in New Jersey and most other states. But New Jersey Governor Chris Christie suggested in a news conference that the federal government could not ban it in some states and allow it in others.

The legal battle heated up recently when the NCAA and the four major professional sports leagues filed suit against Governor Christie and other New Jersey officials, alleging that the state’s announced sports-betting plan violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 law that limits sports betting to Nevada, Montana, Delaware, and Oregon.

“The only thing that is left is some sort of constitutional challenge,” said Roberto Rivera-Soto, a former New Jersey Supreme Court justice and a commercial litigator in the Cherry Hill office of Ballard Spahr. “A statute that has been in place for 20 years has become a part of the recognized landscape…these sorts of things tend to weigh against finding that a statute is unconstitutional. But what do they have to lose? If the worst result is they are going to have the status quo, then why not?”

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