(Adds background on dispute, paragraphs 3-8)
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON, June 27 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s bid to revive a state statute legalizing sports betting that was struck down by lower courts as a violation of federal law.
The justices will review a federal appeals court’s ruling last year that the 2014 New Jersey statute permitting sports betting at casinos and racetracks violated a 1992 federal law that prohibits such gambling in all states except Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
New Jersey had asked the Supreme Court to hear its appeal of an August 2016 ruling by the Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that its law violated the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. New Jersey argues that the federal law infringes upon state sovereignty as laid out in the U.S. Constitution.
Courts have voided two New Jersey laws, also including one in 2012, designed to raise revenue for state coffers through sports betting. The law now at issue would ban wagers on state college teams and limit bets to people age 21 and older at casinos and racetracks.
In January, the Supreme Court had asked the incoming Trump administration to offer its views on whether the justices should take up New Jersey’s appeal, and the administration advised against it.
Christie, a Republican, served as an advisor to President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential race but was removed as the head of Trump’s transition team after the election.
Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association all oppose New Jersey’s law.
Oral arguments and a decision are due in the court’s next term, which starts in October.
Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Will Dunham