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New Jersey Economy Can Be Helped by Sports Betting

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Jul/13/2009
New Jersey Economy

The state of New Jersey desperately needs a boost to help its troubled economy... and so too does its Governor, Jon Corzine.

More bad poll numbers for Corzine were released on Friday.  Just 4 percent of respondents rated the economy in New Jersey as either "good" or "excellent" while 65 said the state was in poor shape. 

Those numbers bear directly on Governor Jon Corzine's chances of being reelected and underscore the need for the governor to either make major improvements in the economy before November, or otherwise change the dynamic of the race, writes The Examiner's Mark Impomeni.

For Corzine, legalized sports betting could hold the answers. 

This is something he is bound to discuss with President Obama when he arrives in the state this week.

Corzine now openly supports a lawsuit, originally brought by state Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Union), seeking to overturn as unconstitutional a federal law banning sports betting in New Jersey and 45 other states.

"The federal government's prohibition on sports betting for some but not all states is fundamentally unfair," Governor Corzine said. "There should be uniformity in the application of federal law. If one state is allowed to legalize betting on sports events, all states should be allowed the same opportunity."

Since 1992, federal law has outlawed wagering on sports except in four states, Nevada, Montana, Oregon and Delaware. Last month, Delaware took advantage of its exemption in the federal law to legalize sports betting and table games at its three horse racing facilities.

Legalized sports betting in Delaware is a cause for concern within the gaming industry in New Jersey because it puts Atlantic City at a competitive disadvantage. Some estimates say as much as $10 billion could be bet on sports annually in New Jersey if such wagers were legal and could generate $100 million in tax revenue for the state.

Governor Corzine will seek to join the lawsuit Lesniak filed in March on behalf of himself as a state senator, the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association and two horse racing groups. The suit asserts that federal law unconstitutionally regulates commerce and discriminates against states were sports betting is forbidden.

"Sports betting in the U.S. is unregulated, untaxed and illegal," Lesniak said. "Rather than supporting thousands of jobs, economic activity and tourism, the federal ban supports offshore operators and organized crime."

New Jersey's fiscal woes landed it in an undesireable top 10 this year: states facing the worst budget shortfalls.

The state had to dig itself out of $8.8 billion in debt before passing the 2010 budget last month.

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com         

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