NEWARK, N.J. (AP)
A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt another defeat to New Jersey's yearslong attempt to legalize sports betting, setting aside the state's legal challenge to a federal betting ban.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling invalidated a law passed by New Jersey in 2014 that would have allowed sports betting at casinos and racetracks
. The court found New Jersey's law violated the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which limits sports betting to the handful of states that offered it at the time.
Currently, only Nevada offers betting on individual games. Delaware offers multigame parlay betting
in which players must pick several games correctly to win. Hundreds of billions of dollars are bet illegally on sports annually.
The four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued the state in 2012, claiming the expansion of legal sports betting would damage the integrity of their games and lead to more game-fixing.
Several court rulings have sided with the leagues and NCAA, though there have been dissents in two previous three-judge rulings at the 3rd Circuit.
One of the judges who dissented in an earlier ruling also wrote a dissent Tuesday. Judge Julio Fuentes wrote that New Jersey's action -- repealing laws against sports gambling -- didn't mean it was actually authorizing sports gambling.
"I do not see how a partial repeal of prohibitions is tantamount to authorizing by law a sports wagering scheme in violation of PASPA," Fuentes wrote.
Tuesday's ruling came after a hearing by the full 3rd Circuit, called an en banc hearing. In an earlier iteration of the case, the 3rd Circuit declined New Jersey's request in 2013 for the full circuit to rehear the case.
The state can appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
Sports betting supporters have called the leagues' stance hypocritical, saying the leagues condone and profit from sports fantasy leagues in which participants assemble rosters of players from different teams and compete against others.