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Should New Jersey Legalise Sports Betting

Betting on sports is popular across the United States with the industry estimated to be worth almost $400 billion a year.  However, it is only legal in four states and most of the gambling that takes place is illegal.

New Jersey continues to battle for the legalisation of sports betting despite major opposition from the professional sports leagues.

Less than 1% of sports betting revenue come from Nevada, the capital of legal gambling with the rest of the legal revenues coming from Delaware, Oregon and Montana. However, New Jersey is now hoping to allow sports betting in Atlantic City and at racetracks.

However, until now the state’s efforts have been blocked by the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA suing them in federal court. They are claiming that betting would ruin the “character and integrity” of sport as it would generate “suspicion that individual plays and final scores of games may have been influenced by factors other than honest athletic competition.”

The Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, says that if there was nationwide prohibition then there wouldn’t be an argument. But as he says “how is it that sports gambling in New Jersey is going to effect the sports leagues more than it already affects the sports leagues in Nevada?”

However, many people claim that illegal sports betting is just as likely to affect the honest of the sports. According to Queens state Senator, Tony Avella, in New York City as much as $30 billion a year is bet illegally on sports.

It is also claimed that legalised sports betting would amount to official exploitation; opponents say it would be another form of taxation which would hit middle class and less-advantaged people the hardest.  However, with a large amount of casinos and lotteries around the U.S. this argument seems fairly weak.

There are major benefits to the legalisation of sports betting, not least of which is the protection through regulation which it would offer the less-advantaged citizens.

OCA News Editor