Four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA are poised to move forward with their legal battle over New Jersey’s plans to allow sports gambling.
That comes after a judge on Friday rejected arguments that the leagues couldn’t prove they would be harmed if the state moves ahead with its plans to allow sports gambling.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined comment on the ruling, telling The Associated Press on Saturday that "the decision speaks for itself."
Stacey Osburn, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said the organization was "pleased with the court’s ruling."
Phone messages left Saturday for officials with the NBA and NHL were not immediately returned.
In denying the request to dismiss the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp agreed that the leagues have standing to file the suit because expanding legal sports betting to New Jersey would negatively affect perception of their games.
Shipp cited studies offered by the leagues that showed fans’ negative attitudes toward game-fixing and sports gambling.
"While most of these studies alone may not constitute a direct causal link between legalized gambling and negative issues of perception on the part of Plaintiffs’ fans, sufficient support to draw this conclusion exists," Shipp wrote.
New Jersey has argued in court papers that a law prohibiting sports gambling in all but four states is unconstitutional, and Shipp ordered that a date for oral argument on that issue will be issued after Jan. 20.
The federal law prohibited sports gambling in all states but Nevada, where bettors can gamble on single games, and three other states that were allowed to offer multi-game parlay betting. New Jersey has argued the law usurps the authority of state legislatures.
On Friday, a nationwide poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind found that 51 percent of Americans support making sports gambling legal everywhere.
The leagues filed suit in August after Gov. Chris Christie vowed to defy a federal ban on sports wagering.
Christie signed a sports betting law in January, limiting bets to the Atlantic City casinos and the state’s horse racing tracks.