The U.S. Attorney’s Office has contended even before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (above) signed the disputed bill into law in 2014 that the state isn’t allowed to offer sports betting under a federal law that made state-sanctioned sports betting illegal in most states.

By Peter Gleason

With one federal judge voicing concern that Atlantic City would become like “the Wild West,” lawyers representing New Jersey were back in federal court in Philly for their latest argument that the state should be allowed to offer sports betting at casinos and horse-racing tracks.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson — who led a legal team that represented President George W. Bush in the disputed 2000 election — gave the bulk of the 30-minute argument on behalf of New Jersey at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philly. It’s the most recent — and potentially last — attempt in New Jersey’s efforts to allow sports gambling.

Olson faced tough questions from the 12-judge panel on New Jersey’s attempt to comply with Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, sports and gambling law attorney Daniel L. Wallach told USA TODAY Sports.

“The court appeared skeptical,” said Wallach, who attended the hearing. “There were not many smiling faces when the lawyers for New Jersey left court.”

A decision isn’t expected for months.


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