New Jersey awaits Gov. Christie’s Signature for Legal Sports Betting
State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) is the catalyst behind a bill that would ignore rulings by two federal judges and allow casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting. The last step is either a signature by Governor Chris Christie, or failure to veto, by Monday (Aug. 11th). “On Monday we will know one way or the other,” said Lesniak. “New Jersey has a right to have what Las Vegas has.”
The state senator is referring to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, which makes sports betting illegal in every state except Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon – four states that were grandfathered into the law.
In theory, it makes sense that a popular casino destination like New Jersey should be able to offer sports wagering just like Nevada. However, all four major US professional sports leagues and the NCAA are staunchly opposed to such a law. These leagues have dumped millions of dollars into legal teams that stand in the way of New Jersey offering sports betting.
Even still, Lesniak is confident that his state will be allowed to offer sports betting on the grounds that the federal government let both Colorado and Washington legalize recreational marijuana use. He believes that the only difference between efforts to legalize marijuana and sports betting is that professional sports leagues and the NCAA oppose his efforts.
Lesniak foresees his sports wagering bill being put in place by September, with Monmouth Park racetrack as a pioneer. “Monmouth Park will be ready to go in September, and I’ll be there to place the first bet,” he said.
Before this vision can come true, Gov. Christie will either have to give his stamp of approval or ignore the bill. Assuming he vetoes the legislation by Monday, though, Lesniak’s bill would be dead.