New Jersey approves sports betting bill

New Jersey approves sports betting bill

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 Totally Gaming

Casinos and racetracks in New Jersey are a step closer to being able to offer sports betting services after lawmakers passed a new bill legalising such activities in the US state.

Passed by a vote of 27-1, the bill is yet to receive approval from the Assembly before it is passed on to state Governor Chris Christie to be rubber-stamped.

The new bill will enable New Jersey casinos and racetrack to offer sports betting under the provision that bets are placed on sporting events taking place outside of the state in order to avoid conflicting with a 1992 federal law.

The passing of the bill comes after US District Judge Michael Shipp, delayed a decision over whether to allow New Jersey to offer legal sports betting services to consumers located inside the US state. 

Judge Shipp, who had been due to give his opinion on the case on October 6, delayed the process until October 31 in order to allow both sides to file additional briefs.

Shipp will pass judgment on whether his existing 2013 order permits the state to offer sports betting as long as it is not regulated by New Jersey.

New Jersey lawmakers have passed the bill despite heavy opposition from North America’s four major sports leagues and the National Collegiate Association (NCAA), which last month challenged the latest attempt to allow sports betting in the state.

Earlier in September, Governor Christie issued a directive to the state’s Attorney General to allow casinos and racetracks in the state to offer sports wagering as long as the bets are placed on events taking place outside of New Jersey.

In a court filing, the leagues branded the directive as “astounding” and a “blatant violation” of an earlier court order by Judge Shipp.

New Jersey Legislature passed a sports betting law signed by Christie in 2012 after voters backed sports betting in a non-binding referendum the previous year.

However, two years ago, American football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA, ice hockey’s NHL, baseball’s MLB and the NCAA sued Christie, citing the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which bans sports gambling in all but four US states.

In last month's court filing, the leagues said the law passed by New Jersey’s Legislature explicitly views sports gambling as being a state-regulated industry, which would violate the Act.

Speaking to TotallyGaming.com earlier this month about the situation, William J. Pascrell, III, Esq., a lobbyist with the Princeton Public Affairs Group, said that sports betting in New Jersey is “inevitable” despite opposition from the leagues. 

“New Jersey's campaign to allow sports betting has been hard fought,” he told TotallyGaming.com.

“The professional leagues continue fighting hard because they ultimately want to control the revenues derived from sports wagering. This is the last stand for the sports leagues.

“With NBA commissioner Adam Silver's recent statement that he believes expanded sports betting is inevitable and that the NBA is open to it, I expect they will soon throw in the towel.”

 

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