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All bets are off: New Jersey sports betting fight pits legislators against leagues

A Democrat and Republican have teamed up on an important issue, but the four major professional sports leagues and the NCAA want to stop them. It turns out sports betting isn’t the best issue to build bipartisanship.

On Monday, the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB joined forces in filing a motion to block Gov. Chris Christie from legalizing sports betting.

This comes as two state senators are joining forces to push for legalization, according to a report:

Democrat Raymond Lesniak and Republican Joseph Kyrillos announced Tuesday that they intend to introduce the legislation when the Senate meets Oct. 9.

They say the bill would reinforce the state attorney general’s position that the state can legally lift the ban on sports betting, so long as it does not specifically authorize the wagering.

The bill would also set a 21-year-old minimum age for betting.

But representatives for the sports leagues say the state would be circumventing federal law.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, “prevents state-sponsored sports betting outside of Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon,” according to ESPN. The leagues say New Jersey has yet to meet all the requirements in the law to allow sports betting.

But the leagues’ concerns haven’t stopped Gov. Christie from taking action on his own. On Sept. 8 he issued an order through the Attorney General telling law enforcement to cease prosecution of sports betting at casinos and racetracks.

Next week there could be a big development: Judge Michael Shipp is expected to rule on the sport league’s motion after a hearing on Oct. 6.

Other states, including New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, California and Oregon, are watching closely as they consider taking up the issue of sports betting.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Josh Kaib

Josh Kaib is the Assistant Editor of Watchdog Wire. Twitter: @joshkaib

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