SPORTS BETTING

PHILADELPHIA (AP) A U.S. appeals court wondered aloud if New Jersey would become ''the Wild East,'' if not ''the Wild West,'' if it allows sports betting at racetracks and casinos but leaves the industry to police itself.

New Jersey officials have tried in recent years to legalize sports betting despite a 1992 federal law that forbids most states from authorizing or overseeing it.

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U.S. appellate judges have twice rejected their efforts in 2-1 decisions, but reconsidered Wednesday in arguments before the full Third Circuit Court in Philadelphia.

Each side hired a former U.S. solicitor general for the high-stakes fight: Theodore Olson argued for Gov. Chris Christie's administration and Paul Clement for the NCAA, the NFL and other pro sports leagues who say the expansion of sports betting threatens the integrity of their games.

Christie and other supporters complain the state is losing millions to illegal sports betting that could help struggling Atlantic City and the ailing horse racing industry. The revised 2014 law would allow sports wagering only in Atlantic City casinos and certain racetracks.

Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, said the law effectively authorizes gambling at those sites by prohibiting it elsewhere. He called that a violation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which passed after Congress carved out an exception for Nevada and a few other places that already allowed some types of sports wagering.

Olson argued that repealing part of the state's ban is not the same as authorizing sports betting.

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Dave Peacock, the former Anheuser-Busch executive who led the failed effort to keep the Rams in St. Louis, is part of a group trying to attract an MLS expansion franchise to the city.

The NFL task force had proposed a $1 billion riverfront stadium that also would be suitable for soccer. The new task force, which also includes Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III, is being called the MLS2STL Group.

The MLS board of governors has said it supports expansion to 28 clubs, with a 24-team league by 2020. Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minnesota will join the next three years and Miami, backed by David Beckham, is the likely 24th team.

Dan Courtemanche, MLS executive vice president of communications, said the league is evaluating future expansion plans and anticipated announcing a process and timeline ''in the coming months.''

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement that St. Louis was a ''tremendous soccer market'' and that he anticipated working with the group to ''further evaluate St. Louis.''

Garber visited St. Louis last May and said then that the city would be a top contender in expansion if stadium plans are fulfilled.

BASEBALL

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) - New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says his long-term prognosis is good as he undergoes cancer treatment.

''I feel very well,'' the 68-year-old said after arriving at spring training. ''I have therapy every couple of weeks, and the side effects have not been significant. Really, since the winter meetings, I've been working full time, and I probably could have been at the winter meetings had I not had some sessions scheduled. I feel great. I'm ready to go. I will disappear from here a couple of times during spring training, just to go back to New York for some additional treatment. Otherwise I should be here and 100 percent and ready to go.''

Alderson had not disclosed the type of cancer. He said he was diagnosed ''four or five'' days after the Mets clinched the NL East title on Sept. 26 at Cincinnati.

''It was a little surreal, having not been to the World Series in 25 years, having never been diagnosed with cancer,'' Alderson said. ''It was a little bit odd, but the great thing about the postseason is it was a distraction at that time and distractions are always nice.''

Mets pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday coming off their first NL pennant since 2000 and a five-game loss to Kansas City in the World Series. Alderson was hired by the Mets in October 2010 and presided over a turnaround that led to an NL East-best 90-72 record last year, which stopped a streak of six losing seasons.

FOOTBALL

CLEVELAND (AP) - The greatest Cleveland Brown of them all is being immortalized.

Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, one of the most dominant players in NFL history who left the game at the prime of his career, will be honored with a statue outside FirstEnergy Stadium.

The team announced the tribute on Brown's 80th birthday.

''Everyone admires the incredible impact that Jim Brown has made for Cleveland, the Browns and the NFL throughout his lifetime, and we have had the special opportunity to know and learn from his contributions to our team on a personal level, as well,'' owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a joint statement. ''It is only fitting that one of the most iconic professional football players and members of Cleveland and the Browns is commemorated with this statue as he will always be such a permanent fixture in our city.''

The sculpture of Brown will be unveiled later this year.

Wearing his iconic No. 32, Brown shredded defenses for nine seasons, leading the league in rushing eight times. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1957, won MVP honors in 1957, 1958 and 1964 and walked away from the game after the 1965 season - at age 30 - to pursue an acting career. He finished with 12,312 yards, 126 touchdowns and recorded 58 career 100-yard games.