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Sports betting ruling expected today

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A federal judge is expected to rule today on whether the NCAA and four major sports leagues can proceed with their suit to stop New Jersey from legalizing sports betting.

The ruling, which will be issued by Judge Michael A. Shipp, will likely decide whether the leagues have legal standing to sue over the state's plans. New Jersey gaming regulators are preparing to issue sports betting licenses next month, defying a 20-year-old federal ban that limits the wagering to only four states, unless the court intervenes.

During a 90-minute hearing in Trenton on Tuesday, attorneys for the state argued the leagues could not sue simply because they anticipate harm from legalized sports betting in the Garden State. Lawyers for the leagues countered that they have a direct interest in the matter because they produce the events that would be bet on, adding that wagering would raise suspicion that games were influenced by gambling-related interests.

The state has moved to implement sports betting under a law signed in January by Gov. Chris Christie. Casinos and racetracks are allowed to apply for the licenses, with state officials believing that sports betting will be a lifeline to the struggling gaming industries.

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