By Michelle Minton
Is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional? NJ democrat Senator Raymond J. Lesniak thinks so and has succeeded in bringing the NJ senate into the suit as a plaintiff. SR19 which made it through a voice vote in the Senate allows the senate president join the suit challenging the legality of the federal government’s sports ban on 10th amendment grounds. Lesniak, along with the other plaintiffs claim that it is a state’s right to regulate gambling activities not the federal government.
Back in 1992 the PASPA made all forms of sports gambling illegal accept for those states in which sports gambling already existed (Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware).
As usual, Lesniak makes the case that legalized sports gambling will bring in sorely needed tax money. While this argument misses the point, and a state regulatory authority has as little right as the feds to ban individuals from engaging in the free act of gambling with their own money, it does move the US a step in the right direction. It would also pave the way for legalized state-regulated internet gambling.
Governor Chris Christie has until March 12th to join the suit as a substitute for former governor Corzine whom the Department of Justice last year criticized for his involvement in the case, stating that he had “no cognizable interest in this litigation”; 2.) “has no interest that might be impaired by this litigation”, and 3.) “Any interest Gov. Corzine might have is adequately protected by the plaintiffs.”