4 major leagues, NCAA ask judge to stop New Jersey from allowing legalized sports betting

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TRENTON, New Jersey — The four major U.S. pro sports leagues and the NCAA on Tuesday again urged a judge to stop the state from allowing legalized sports betting this weekend.

An order to show cause was filed in federal court in Trenton. The NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA want U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp to temporarily prevent New Jersey's casinos and racetracks from taking sports wagers.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Friday signed a law that effectively repeals the state's ban on sports wagering. Monmouth Park racetrack has said it plans to accept bets starting Sunday.

The leagues said they "will be irreparably harmed in the event Atlantic City casinos and/or New Jersey racetracks are permitted to operate sports wagering pools" and such harm outweighs any harm to the state by granting the injunction.

The judge ordered the state to file its reply by Wednesday and the leagues to file a response to that reply by Thursday. He said he would notify the parties about a possible date for oral arguments after he reads their briefs.

The two sides have been fighting in court since 2012, when Christie signed a law authorizing sports betting. New Jersey failed in its constitutional challenge to a 1992 federal law against sports betting but seized on a sentence in a federal appeals court's ruling to take the step of rolling back state laws against sports gambling.

New Jersey says it can legally allow sports betting if it is not state-regulated, while the leagues argue that it would be state-regulated by virtue of the fact that it would be restricted to racetracks and casinos, which are regulated by the state.

Only Nevada offers single-game betting; three other states are allowed to sell sports parlay pools.

The sports leagues and the NCAA also filed papers in court on Monday.

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