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New Jersey Senate passes sports betting bill, Assembly to follow (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Gov. Chris Christie has signed the sports betting bill into law, following passage in the Assembly. Original story below:

This week the New Jersey state Assembly will likely pass a bill to allow sports betting in the state, following the Senate which approved sports betting Tuesday.

The Record reports that the latest bill “is an amended version of a predecessor vetoed by Governor Christie in August over concerns that it would be voided by a federal court because it did not sufficiently clarify that the new gambling at the state’s racetracks and Atlantic City casinos would be overseen by private interests and not the government.”

Last fall a federal court suggested that sports betting would not violate federal law as long as the state government wasn’t the body overseeing it. The state’s prior attempt at state-regulated sports betting was struck down.

State legislators see this as a way to help Atlantic City recover from its slump. Just this year four casinos have closed. The state’s racetracks are also struggling.

“Atlantic City is hemorrhaging and our racetracks are bleeding and they need the boost in revenues that this legislation will provide,” said Democratic State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, who authored the senate bill.

Four states currently allow sports betting: Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. They opted out of the 1992 federal law which banned the practice.

“Sports wagering, which is taking place in four other states, should also be happening here,” Republican state Sen. Jennifer Beck, a co-sponsor, told NJ Advance Media. She’s from Monmouth County, and that area’s racetrack, Monmouth Park, stands to benefit from sports betting.

Last week Monmouth Park adviser Dennis Drazin announced the founding of the The Independent Sports Wagering Association as a way for the industry to self-regulate.

The four major sports leagues and the NCAA have sued to block New Jersey from legalizing sports betting.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons

Josh Kaib

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

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