Major Sports Betting Case Could Be Headed To Supreme Court

The highest court in the United States could potentially get involved in a major case in the state of New Jersey. The Supreme Court will first have to decide if they want to hear arguments from the case, and that decision will come on May 15.

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is seeking damages from other major professional sports organizations, along with the NCAA. These organizations attempted to block a sports betting law in New Jersey, costing the Horsemen’s Association millions of dollars.

New Jersey lawmakers passed a sports betting law in 2014, which appeared to pave the way for the Horsemen’s Association to take bets on sports. Courts had previously determined that a prior sports betting law was invalid, forcing lawmakers to create a new law.

As soon as the law was announced, professional sports leagues around the United States immediately filed an injunction. The NCAA, MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL argued that the sports betting law would hurt their league operations.

The leagues combined to pay a $3.4 million bond to shut down the sports betting law. What ensued was a four-year legal battle that never saw a resolution for either side.

In May 2018, the United States Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on legalized sports betting, allowing betting to take place in New Jersey. Despite other attempts from the professional sports league, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association was able to take bets again.

The Horsemen’s Association had already established a sportsbook at Monmouth Park, but they were forced to shut down during the legal battle. The horsemen are now arguing that they should be paid damages for the four years that they went without revenue.

A federal appellate court ruled last year that the horsemen were entitled to this money from the leagues, as well as interest money. That ruling was eventually appealed, and it will now appear in front of the United States Supreme Court.

The US Supreme Court will meet up for a conference on May 15, and they will discuss whether or not to hear this case. At least four of the nine justices must agree to hear the case before the arguments can take place.

If not enough justices agree to hear the case, then it will head to the federal district court level. The two sides can also settle out of court, or the federal district court will decide how much money must be awarded to the horsemen.

Damages Sought

The Horsemen’s Association is seeking close to $150 million in damages as a part of this settlement. They did not come up with this number on their own but sought out Chris Grove to come up with the figure.

Grove is a partner at Eilers and Krejcik, which is a gaming research firm. He determined that the sportsbook would have won approximately $10.2 million during the first month of being open in 2014.

From there, Grove estimated that Monmouth Park would have brought in more than $139 million from the period of November 2014 to May 2018. The sports leagues have argued that this figure is way too high, and they have refused to settle out of court.

The five leagues decided to write a letter to the United States Supreme Court asking them to hear their appeal. The Horsemen’s Association argued that getting the Supreme Court involved is way too premature, and they prefer a smaller court to hear this appeal process.

The Horsemen’s Association argues that the leagues acted in bad faith and that their argument for the injunction was invalid.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.