Ruling postponed in New Jersey sports betting case

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) Casinos and racetracks in New Jersey will have to wait a bit longer for a judge’s ruling on the state’s efforts to allow legal sports gambling.

U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp initially was to have published an opinion on Monday, but he granted an extension so the two sides could file more briefs.

Shipp will hear oral arguments Oct. 31 in Trenton. He’ll then rule on whether his 2013 order permits New Jersey to allow sports betting, as long as it isn’t state-regulated.

The legal battle stretches back to 2011 when New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved legalizing sports gambling in a nonbinding referendum. The Legislature followed by passing a sports wagering bill that Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed into law in early 2012.

The four pro sports leagues and the NCAA sued several months later to stop the effort, and Shipp ruled in early 2013 that the federal law restricting sports gambling to Nevada and three other states was constitutional. He issued a permanent injunction stopping New Jersey from implementing its law, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up New Jersey’s appeal.

This year, Christie vetoed a new bill that would have repealed the state’s prohibitions on sports gambling, but in early September, he did an apparent about-face by announcing he was ordering the state attorney general’s office not to prosecute casinos and racetracks if they offered sports betting that wasn’t regulated by the state.

The leagues and the NCAA filed a response last week that called Christie’s move ”astounding,” ”specious” and a ”blatant violation” of Shipp’s 2013 order.