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U.S. sports leagues sued by New Jersey horse racing association

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association filed a legal action against the four major US pro sports leagues and the NCAA Thursday, claiming the leagues cost one of the state's racetracks more than $130 million in lost revenue by blocking the advent of legal sports betting.

The action follows the victory of New Jersey in its Supreme Court appeal, which resulted in the overturn of the restrictive Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act and the liberalisation of sports betting in the United States (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The successful appeal was the result of years of expensive litigation by the state in which New Jersey was opposed by the sports leagues.

The Associated Press news agency reports that Thursday's filing in a federal court claims the leagues acted in bad faith when they obtained a restraining order in 2014 to block Monmouth Park Racetrack from offering sports betting.

The suit claims Monmouth Park would have generated $139 million in revenue between November 2014 and May 2018 when the Supreme Court ruling was handed down, permitting all US states to authorise legal sports gambling if desired. It also claims the leagues' bad faith is illustrated by the fact that they were actively promoting and endorsing businesses that made millions from fantasy sports games.

“During the intervening years the Leagues' actions nearly put Monmouth Park out of business, inflicted significant financial and emotional hardship on hundreds of innocent Monmouth Park workers, and jeopardized the continued viability of New Jersey's entire equine industry,” the filing alleges, asking for payment of a $3.4 million bond the leagues posted in 2014 to secure any loss the horsemen's association might suffer during the time the temporary restraining order was in effect.

It also seeks an evidentiary hearing to determine the total damages owed by the leagues.

Spokesmen for the NBA, MLB and NFL have thus far not responded.

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