New Jersey has filed a motion asking for an expedited appeal in its fight to bring Las Vegas-style sports betting to Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks.

The 13-page document, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals, notes that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and four professional sports leagues do not oppose the motion.

However, the NCAA, as well as the football, baseball, basketball and hockey leagues, continue to oppose New Jersey’s attempts to legalize sports betting. A federal judge ruled in their favor Feb. 28 to block the state from moving ahead with sports wagering at the casinos and racetracks.

New Jersey and other supporters of the state’s proposed sports-betting law are asking the federal appeals court to hear the case. The motion for an expedited appeal was filed last week in advance of a deadline Monday for court papers. No other documents were expected to be filed Monday, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

New Jersey’s arguments in favor of sports betting are reiterated in the motion for an expedited appeal. The state claims that a 1992 federal ban on sports betting in all but four states is unconstitutional. Only Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana are allowed to have sports betting because they had a form of it on the books before the ban took effect.

“Citizens are essentially left with three choices: refrain from the activity altogether, resort to the illegal black market or travel to a state where sports betting is allowed. The enormity of the existing illicit market — perhaps as much as $500 billion per year nationwide — indicates the choice many people have made,” New Jersey’s motion says.

The appeals court must schedule a hearing for arguments on the motion.

“By expediting the appeal, the court would further the interests of the people of the state of New Jersey both in promoting regulated sports wagering — with significant economic and fiscal benefits for the state — and in suppressing the existing, unregulated sports-wagering market,” the motion says.

The NCAA and professional sports leagues adamantly oppose sports betting in New Jersey, fearing it could lead to cheating scandals and also cause them economic harm.

Contact Donald Wittkowski:

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