By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — A federal judge in Trenton is expected to act before the end of the week on a motion by professional sports leagues and the NCAA that could block New Jersey’s plan to implement sports gambling at casinos and racetracks in the state.

It’s the first step in what is likely to be a long, complex process that will, in the end, determine whether federal law that restricts sports betting to only four states is constitutional (see related story).

But at the state level, Judge Michael Shipp is ruling on the leagues’ standing to challenge New Jersey’s yet-to-be-implemented law.

The leagues insist that legalized sports gambling will cause some to question the integrity of their games, which could affect their bottom lines.

The state counters that billions are spent illegally on gambling and the leagues are doing just fine.

All they’re trying to do, state officials say, is regulate the sports betting industry, and the casinos and tracks will run it.

New Jersey hopes to start awarding sports betting licenses as early as next month.

Top Content On CBSPhilly

Watch & Listen LIVE