- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi and several other states have joined New Jersey’s fight to legalize sports betting in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/2fCzYSQ ) Attorney General Jim Hood signed onto the brief submitted by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, as did the attorneys general of Arizona, Louisiana and Wisconsin.

New Jersey in October appealed a lower court’s ruling to the Supreme Court. The American Gaming Association also joined.

“We joined other states in this amicus brief to ensure the interests of the states were protected under the Tenth Amendment,” a Hood spokeswoman said Thursday. “Whether a state permits legalized sports wagering is a question for that state’s legislature and not the federal government.”

This is the second time New Jersey has appealed to the nation’s high court in its long-running battle against the NCAA and professional sports leagues in its efforts to have legal sports betting at casinos and race tracks.

The Supreme Court declined to hear New Jersey’s appeal in 2014.

The brief Mississippi joined questions whether the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unfairly prohibits states - other than Nevada and several others “exempted” - from repealing existing laws banning sports wagering. This, the brief says, is in violation of the Tenth Amendment.

Whether states want to have sports betting or not, the brief says, the lower court’s decision in the New Jersey case “raises serious federalism concerns for all states” and “…threatens the balance of power between the states and the federal government.”

Hood, considered a potential candidate for governor in 2019, has mentioned a state lottery and a tax on fantasy sports betting as potential ways to increase state revenue.

Gov. Phil Bryant has said he is open to discussion of a lottery, but apparently is not so open to sports betting.

“As he has said before, Gov. Bryant opposes any expansion of gaming in Mississippi beyond current statutory restrictions,” Bryant spokesman Clay Chandler said.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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