Glimmer of Hope for Sports Betting in New Jersey
This week residents of New Jersey will be taking to the polls to vote on the legalisation of sports betting. With the economy still suffering and revenues low, the state is looking to tap into the popularity of Super Bowl and other sports betting.
However, even if voters approve the ballot there is still a long battle ahead for the state. The 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act forbids sports betting in all states except Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. The bill is being pushed by State Senator Raymond Lesniak, but even if voters approve the ballot it will be tough work to change federal law.
However, Lesniak disagrees he said that “Overturning a federal law is never easy, but I’m confident on this one. We’re looking forward to the referendum passing, and as soon as we get that done, we’ll move almost instantaneously on a bill for the governor to sign. We’re looking to have the ban declared unconstitutional, and some very good legal authorities we’ve spoken to agree with that”.
According to Lesniak the proposed legislation would protect against cheating and utilise new technology to prevent minors gambling, it would also ban gambling on sports events involving New Jersey colleges.
Lesniak is also trying to legalise online gambling as this too would bring the state large amounts in tax revenues. At present online gambling is illegal under a 2006 federal law, however, it is hoped that due to the size of the federal deficit Congress may reconsider and legalise it. The American Gaming Association is backing the legalisation efforts, but only in regards to poker which is predicted to bring in $2 billion a year in tax revenue.