This isn't exactly a poker story, but I have been following it very closely because it concerns online gaming - or rather it used to - and the federal government.
In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which put a federal ban on sportsbetting everywhere except a few states where it was already licensed/practiced.
New Jersey state Senator Ray Lesniak has dedicated himself to the passage of a bill which would legalize sportsbetting in the state. The reform has already met with statewide approval via referendum, and now awaits final approval by the state legislature before being signed by Governor Chris Christie. Both are expected to happen.
(The bill in its original form would have allowed online
sportsbetting as well, but Lesniak has just done away with that provision in order to maximize the bill's chances when it reaches Christie, who was not a fan to begin with, but said he would get with the reform if the people voted in favor of it.)
Now comes the part which interests me the most. Even once the bill gets signed into "law" by Christie, New Jersey still can't enable sportsbetting, because PASPA will still be standing in the way, and federal law prevails. So the state of New Jersey will have to sue
the federal government and litigate the constitutionality of PASPA. NJ already tried this last year, without Christie's backing, and a federal judge said that no such lawsuit would be considered without the governor's support, so the case was thrown out of court. The situation is different this time around, with Christie expected to back the bill - and subsequent lawsuit.
What kind of chances do you give this? Supposing the lawsuit were successful this time around... Would PASPA's applicability be reversed only for New Jersey, or would it mean a nationwide repeal? Also, what kind of precedent would this establish for challenging other federal laws, like the UIGEA? I am hoping for the opinion of someone with a greater legal/political understanding of these issues, who famously beats his keyboard like a tambourine.