On Monday January 23, 2012, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.(NJ-06) stood with NJ State Senators Raymond Lesniak (NJ-20), Jim Whelan (NJ-02) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ-01) at the New Jersey State House to announce legislation he is introducing that will open sports betting to New Jersey. The bill will exclude New Jersey from the federal prohibition on professional and amateur sports gambling.
In November, 2011 New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure supporting a bill passed by the Legislature amending the state constitution and authorizing the Legislature to enact laws to allow sports wagering in New Jersey. Last Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill allowing people over the age of 21 to place a bet on a sporting event in-person at special lounges created in casinos, racetracks or at the site of a former racetrack.
"The citizens of New Jersey have spoken loud and clear that they want the opportunity to share in the profits from professional sports betting. Any delay in passing this legislation is a loss of profits for local businesses and that is unacceptable," added Pallone.
Without the passage of Pallone's legislation, New Jersey cannot begin to allow sports betting in the state due to a 1992 law prohibiting any governmental entity from authorizing professional and amateur sports betting. When the law was passed Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana received some exemptions as each allowed some level of sports betting at the time.
"The existing federal law is unconstitutional and arbitrary, giving four states access to this billion-dollar industry, while shutting out the rest," said Pallone. "The citizens of New Jersey have made it clear they want the opportunity to share in the profits from professional sports betting. This legislation will help even the playing field and uphold our state's wishes on what is clearly a state issue."
Senator Lesniak said, "We appreciate Congressman Pallone's effort to get Congress to give New Jersey what our residents overwhelmingly want, the same ability to place bets on sporting events that it has given to the residents of Nevada and to boost revenues and jobs at our casinos and racetracks."