NEWARK, N.J. - The New York Jets have hired the brother of a federal judge who has ruled on New Jersey's efforts to allow sports betting, but that won't affect the case for now.
State Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D., Union) and Monmouth Park Racetrack attorney Dennis Drazin, both strong supporters of sports gambling in New Jersey, said Wednesday that they would not seek to file a motion to have U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp remove himself from the case after the hiring of the judge's brother Marcel.
Marcel Shipp is a former NFL player. He was hired by the Jets this week as a running-backs coach.
Last fall, Lesniak called for Michael Shipp to recuse himself from the case because of his brother's connection to the NFL, which included a minority coaching fellowship with the Arizona Cardinals.
The NFL, NHL, and NBA, Major League Baseball, and the NCAA sued New Jersey in 2012 to stop it from allowing sports betting.
Since then, Michael Shipp has ruled against the state several times. The case is on appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia and is expected to be argued in March, Lesniak said.
"It would have been better if the judge had recused himself before," Lesniak said. "On the temporary restraining order that the NFL requested, his opinion sounded like talking points from the NFL. That's over now, and there's nothing we can do about it. We're taking our chances with the Third Circuit."
Lesniak said the issue could be revisited if the appeals court sends the case back to Michael Shipp, as it did previously, though he said it was unlikely that would happen again. A spokesman for the state Attorney General's Office did not return a message seeking comment.
Last week, Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. and Republican Frank LoBiondo renewed legislative efforts to make sports gambling legal.
Pallone's bill would exempt New Jersey from the federal ban on sports betting in 46 states. LoBiondo's bill would reopen a window for any state that wants to legalize sports betting to do it in the next four years.
Supporters of New Jersey's efforts want it to become only the second state in the country, after Nevada, to offer wagering on individual games at betting locations known as sports books. Delaware offers multi-game parlay pools, in which bettors must pick several games correctly to win money.