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State Senator Will Attempt to Get Around Sports Betting Ban in New Jersey

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Jul/28/2014
State Senator Will Attempt to Get Around Sports Betting Ban in New Jersey

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) will attempt to get around a sports betting ban by pushing through legislation with strong bipartisan support in hopes that Governor Chris Christie signs the bill into law.

Christie has long supported the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey but the professional sports leagues and NCAA successfully blocked such efforts in the court.

From the Newark Star Ledger:

Lesniak believes the appeals court, and federal lawyers themselves, gave New Jersey the necessary opening when they rebutted its argument that PASPA violated the 10th Amendment by “commandeering” its Legislature to adopt and enforce a federal policy, namely, opposition to sports betting.

He cited the court’s assertion that it does “not read PASPA to prohibit New Jersey from repealing its ban on sports wagering,” and that each state is free to decide “how much of a law enforcement priority it wants to make of sports gambling, or what the exact contours of the prohibition will be.”

He also pointed to the U.S. solicitor general’s contention that “PASPA does not even obligate New Jersey to leave in place the state-law prohibitions against sports gambling that it had chosen to adopt prior to PASPA’s enactment. To the contrary, New Jersey is free to repeal those prohibitions in whole or in part.”

Lesniak had vowed to place the very first sports wager in the state by Week 1 of the upcoming NFL regular season.  Whether that actually happens remains anyone’s guess.

“I plan on placing my first bet at Monmouth racetrack on Sept. 8 for the Giants to beat the spread against the Lions on ‘Monday Night Football,’” he said.

Lesniak believes the U.S. Justice Department “will refrain from interfering, as they have with Colorado and Washington when those states legalized marijuana.”

But as the Star Ledger points out, it is highly unlikely that the sports leagues will sit back idly and allow wagering on sporting events to take place in New Jersey.

George Amick of the Star Ledger writes:

The trouble with Lesniak’s analogy, as South Jersey Times has pointed out, is that pot smoking in Colorado wasn’t opposed by a cartel of sports tycoons who would be happy to put an offending state through another costly round of litigation.

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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