The NCAA and the four major professional sports leagues are suing to prevent New Jersey from legalizing sports betting.

The suit was filed Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court in Trenton, with Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the National Football League joining the National Collegiate Athletic Association as plaintiffs.

The complaint argues the state has pursued a course of action that could, "within the next two months," allows casinos and racetracks to "commence gambling operations on amateur and professional sports."

Cited are Gov. Christie's signing enabling legislation into law in January, and the publishing of proposed regulations on July 2 by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

The complaints also notes that the state constitution was amended last December to give the legislature power to authority extend sports betting beyond horse racing.

"Gambling on amateur and professional sports threatens the integrity of those sports," which depends on the public's perception of games being decided "solely on the basis of honest athletic competition," the plaintiffs argue.

All but four states were barred from promoting gambling on athletic contests by a federal law that became effective on Jan. 1, 1993.

Only Nevada allows betting on individual games. Delaware, Oregon and Montana were allowed to continue offering limited kinds of betting.

The complaint points out that the federal law gave New Jersey a one-year opportunity to establish sports betting, but "New Jersey declined that opportunity."

In May, Christie declared his hopes to have sports betting in place by fall, saying, "We intend to go forward and allow sports betting to happen, and if someone wants to stop us, then they'll have to take action to try to stop us."

He also said at the time: ""I signed this bill into law because it is another way to continue to boost our casino and horse racing industries and encourage tourists to come to Atlantic City."

Several years ago, when Delaware tried to institute betting on individual games, the same parties sued and won. The state was restricted under federal law to the only previous betting it had allowed: parlay betting on pro football.