Daily fantasy sports (DFS) is at the forefront of the national conversation on gambling and online casinos, but in New Jersey the issue is taking a back seat to more traditional Las Vegas-style sports betting.
Following a two-hour hearing on DFS by the Assembly’s Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, Chairman Ralph Caputo (D-District 28) announced he and Republican Governor Chris Christie agreed to delay continued discussions on the emerging market until the state’s sports betting lawsuit reaches a verdict.
That means DFS will be put on the backburner for the foreseeable future as the United States Court of Appeals for the Third District won’t take on the case until sometime in February. Its verdict is expected to take several months to reach following the hearing.
Regardless, Caputo told reporters that the state “should wait and see what guidance” the court delivers before proceeding with DFS contests.
“This was the start of an effort … but this needs to be done with the big picture in mind,” Caputo said. “This includes waiting to see how our bid to bring sports gaming to New Jersey plays out in the courts.”
Waiting on Jersey
Since 1978 when New Jersey joined Nevada in legalizing land-based gambling, the Garden State has largely been a vanguard of the casino industry. Along with its desert counterpart, the two states have led the way in determining what should and what shouldn’t be permissible.
Nevada has already weighed in on the complex DFS dispute, the Silver State stating in October that the contests are not games of skill but games of chance, a distinction that classifies the market as gambling.
DFS leaders DraftKings and FanDuel ceased operations in the state, but also relayed their disappointment in Nevada’s interpretation. “This decision stymies innovation and ignores the fact that fantasy sports is a skill-based entertainment,” FanDuel said in a statement.
The operators are presumably also disappointed to learn that New Jersey will delay its own ruling for at least the next several months, a development that leaves DFS hanging in a perpetual state of jeopardy.
DFS having to wait for New Jersey’s sports betting appeal to be resolved almost didn’t happen.
According to legal analyst Daniel Wallach, the en banc procedure scheduled to take place in February is granted by the Third District Court at a rate of just 0.07 percent. En banc reviews bring a majority of the court’s 23 judges to the bench in order to try the case.
“This in an important case with national significance,” Wallach stated.
Last August, Judges Marjorie Rendell and Maryanne Trump Barry ruled the state legalizing sports betting violates the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 in a 2-1 ruling. Rendell and Barry’s colleagues, at the very least, believe the deliberations need more consideration.
Like it has done with land-based and now online gambling, New Jersey will likely have a great impact on DFS nationwide when it finally decides how to regulate the innovative games.
Should the state ultimately win its sports betting case, that would theoretically also be a win for DFS.