NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Lawyers for the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA said late Monday that an attempt by a New Jersey horse racing association to collect betting revenue that was lost as the leagues fought to block legalized sports betting is frivolous.
The leagues filed their response in federal court late Monday to a May motion from the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association claiming the leagues acted in bad faith when they sought a restraining order in 2014 to block Monmouth Park Racetrack from offering sports betting. The association said in its claim that the leagues were promoting and endorsing businesses that made millions from fantasy sports leagues that rely on individual player performances.
Lawyers for the leagues say they were exercising their rights under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to stop the racetrack from taking bets in 2014. The leagues and the NCAA sued then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie after Christie signed a law lifting bans on sports betting at casinos and racetracks.
After several years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court in May sided with New Jersey and struck down PASPA, ruling that the law was unconstitutional.
The association is seeking to collect on a $3.4 million bond the leagues posted in 2014 to secure any loss that might be suffered during the time the temporary restraining order was in effect if they did not succeed in their challenge. But the association is also seeking an evidentiary hearing to determine the total lost revenue for the duration of the lawsuit, which it says is almost $140 million.
The leagues said in their filing Monday that the association cannot collect money greater than the bond, which only covered the month-long temporary restraining order before a judge granted a more permanent halt while the case was litigated. They say the claims that the leagues acted in bad faith are frivolous, and that the eventual outcome of the case does not mean the temporary restraining order was a wrongful enjoinment.
The association has until Aug. 13 to file its response.
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