By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A federal appeals court in Philadelphia today heard arguments on New Jersey’s controversial sports gambling law.

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Both sides focused on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 law passed by Congress that bans sports betting in all but four states.

In arguing his case for the State of New Jersey, Theodore Olsen told the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that the law is plainly unconstitutional, saying it discriminates against the 46 other states.

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The bill that Governor Christie signed last year allows betting on pro and college sports at racetracks and at Atlantic City casinos.  Olsen conceded that the potentially corrupting influence of gambling will never be eliminated, but contended that the New Jersey law is designed to shine a light on that issue.

Paul Clement, who headed the legal team representing the NCAA, NFL, and other leagues, argued that Congress was within the scope of the Constitution when it passed the law after agreeing that authorized sports gambling was a problem, adding that when states legitimize it they endanger the integrity of sports.

 

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