NJTHA: Major Sports Leagues Are on the Hook for $150M

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The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association /NJTHA/ is convinced it is entitled to every last cent they require from the major sports leagues and the NCAA in its ongoing legal battle to recuperate losses dating back to 2014.

It is either up to the Supreme Court, if it decides to hear leagues’ arguments, or to the federal court in New Jersey to decide upon the final amount of compensation.

Entitled to a Hefty Compensation

According to estimations, the Monmouth Park Racetrack the NJTHA owns and operates has been incurred damages to the extent of $150 million stemming from the restraining order issued “in bad faith” that prevented it from launching its sports book.

In September 2019, the Third Circuit issued a ruling in favour of the NJTHA regarding its suit filed back in 2014 against the major sports leagues and the NCAA. Back then the leagues sued Chris Christie, state governor by that time, NJTHA, and William Hill USA, arguing that the state law that allows gambling at horse tracks and casinos was in violation of federal law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act /PASPA/.

The leagues lost the case in 2018, when the US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in the favor of New Jersey and its fellow defendants, but the damage from the stop order issued by the District Court in October 2014, right as Monmouth Park, partnering with William Hill, was preparing to accept bets on NFL games, was done. For that restraining order to be issued, leagues were forced to post a $3.4 million bond, estimated to be NJTHA’s losses for its duration.

Both Sides Unable to Reach a Settlement

Instead of settling the claim after the Third Circuit Court and the subsequent federal court ruling supporting the horsemen’s association claims, the leagues and the NCAA dug their heels in the negotiations and recently informed a judge both sides cannot reach an agreement, asking for the Supreme Court to intervene. And they face a settlement of up to $150 million, as NJTHA claims that is the amount of damage from 2014 to 2018.

“We feel we’re entitled to additional damages. We believe the leagues acted in bad faith trying to stop New Jersey from taking advantage of sports betting while at the same time they were pursing fantasy sports through their equity positions with the FanDuels and Draft Kings of the world, playing games in jurisdictions that permit gambling on sports, all while telling the courts it was an integrity issue.”

Dennis Drazin, Consultant, NJTHA

The Supreme Court is the last barrier between NJTHA and its multi-million claim, since if it refuses to hear leagues’ arguments that there are no legal grounds for that amount to be demanded, the case will go back to federal court in New Jersey to set the final compensation, and federal appeals court has already sided with the plaintiff.

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