Following Governor Chris Christie's signing of sports-betting legislation earlier this month, U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today will introduce legislation that re-opens the federal statute prohibiting sports-betting in 46 states, including New Jersey.
"New Jersey has been clear about its intent to host sports-betting. Legalizing sports-betting would strengthen Atlantic City in the face of stiff competition, giving it an additional edge to attract visitors and critical tourism dollars. Now that Governor Christie has signed the sports-betting bill into law, I will introduce my legislation today to give our state that right," said LoBiondo, co-chair of the Congressional Gaming Caucus.
As publicly announced in December, LoBiondo drafted two bills regarding sports-betting. One bill would be an exemption for the State of New Jersey from the 1992 "The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection" law. The second bill would repeal the federal ban outright, allowing all states the option to engage in sports-betting.
After careful consultation with representatives of the gaming industry and House legislative counsel over the past few weeks, LoBiondo opted for authoring a third bill -- the "Sports Gaming Opportunity Act" -- that would re-open the window for states to approve and establish sports-betting within their borders. New Jersey failed to pass the necessary legislation by the deadline specified under the 1992 law, thus leaving sports-betting permissible in only Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
LoBiondo believes that re-opening the window established by the 1992 law to states currently interested in having sports-betting, such as New Jersey, is more likely to garner a majority support in Congress rather than specifically exempting one state from current law. LoBiondo's legislation would re-open the window until January 1, 2016. LoBiondo's legislation does not modify any other provisions within the 1992 law.
"As it is critical that consensus and majority support be garnered to move any legislation through Congress, it would be nearly impossible to pass federal legislation if it is perceived as New Jersey vs the 45 other states. I firmly believe the best legislative strategy to actually accomplishing our shared goal is to give states another opportunity to provide sports-betting within their borders," concluded LoBiondo.