Federal Lawsuit Filed to Legalize Sports Betting in New Jersey

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Jeff Van Drew

It's a battle state lawmakers have been fighting for some time, and today a federal lawsuit was filed in hopes of legalizing sports betting in all 50 states. As Jennifer Husko finds out, lawmakers believe sports betting will bring some much needed revenue to the state.

Video: http://www.nbc40.net/pages/videoplayer/video.php?vid=8655

In a time of extreme economic pain, state lawmakers are once again pushing to legalize sports betting. And it's a fight these lawmakers are willing to face...Monday they filed a federal lawsuit against The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. They say it's unconstitutional claiming it does not uniformly regulate commerce throughout the United States since Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon are exempt. "Some folks say why should we do this, folks think it might be a long shot, the reason that we should do it is we can only gain, we don't have it, we very well might win and if we do, it truly would be a benefit to our region," said Senator Jeff Van Drew, (D) 1st District.

It's estimated that Americans illegally wager about $380 billion dollars each year on sports alone, lawmakers say sports betting would allow New Jersey to legally cash in on millions of gaming dollars out there. "At a time when state is very tight with money and have so many services that are in need of it only...will expand...it just makes sense to look at revenue sources that are already there it also makes sense to take this underground economy and bring it out into the light of day," said Joe Brennan, Jr., CEO of Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association.

Sports betting would also allow state gaming enforcement agencies to properly regulate and police the illegal activities that currently go on and the state could generate much needed tax dollars to alleviate budget gaps. "There's so much illegal gaming going on right now, billions if not trillions of dollars...how much better is it to be legal, to be appropriate, be clean and use revenue for state of New Jersey," said Van Drew.

Legal sports wagering helps bring more than 30 million visitors to Nevada each year and provides employment for thousands of people...based on those numbers new jersey lawmakers believe it will help Atlantic City and the state rise to the top in this financial downturn. "People are going to go to casinos, gonna utilize casino, dine, shop, so forth it's a real positive move, we have absolutely nothing to lose only to gain," Van Drew continued.

Source:  NBC Atlantic City

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