Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) called on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to sign a bill that would allow privately owned sports betting at casinos and horse-racing tracks in the state. The bill has already passed the state Legislature and proponents of the legislation are confident that this bill would provide a viable way to bring legal sports betting to New Jersey.
"The citizens of New Jersey have spoken loud and clear that they want the opportunity to share in the profits from professional sports betting," said Congressman Pallone. "I continue to believe that New Jersey should be given the same opportunity that other states have already been given with regards to gaming in their states and that the federal government should not stand in the way. I urge Governor Christie to sign this bill quickly and bring sports wagering to New Jersey."
In 2013, Congressman Pallone, along with Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), reintroduced H.R. 626, the New Jersey Betting and Equal Treatment Act of 2013, a bipartisan bill that provides New Jersey with an exemption to the current federal law prohibiting sports betting. If passed this bill would allow state law in New Jersey to determine how sports betting will be regulated within the state. Pallone has repeatedly called for action to change federal sports gaming law.
Under the bill passed by the state Legislature, sports betting could be permitted at the Monmouth Park Racetrack in Pallone's district, potentially attracting hundreds of visitors to the area and thousands in new revenue for surrounding businesses.
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. Governor Christie signed that bill into law, but it was not implemented due to a lawsuit filed against the State of New Jersey by the NCAA and four professional sports leagues in August 2012. New Jersey appealed its case after the district court failed to rule in its favor.
In September 2013, a three judge panel of the Third Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals split 2-1 in its decision to uphold a district court ruling against New Jersey. Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will not hear a challenge by the State of New Jersey to the September 2013 ruling barring New Jersey from allowing sports wagering.