The vote Tuesday in New Jersey to allow sports betting at 11 state casinos and racetracks could pave the way for a showdown in federal court challenging Nevada’s monopoly on sports wagering, according to the Bergen County Record.
The Record called the approval by statewide voters of a non-binding resolution to allow sports betting in Atlantic City and elsewhere in the state a victory for Democratic state Sen. Ray Lesniak, who plans to challenge the 1993 federal statute outlawing most sports betting, except in Nevada and a few other states.
Lesniak now plans to introduce a bill that if approved by the state legislature, would actually make sports betting in New Jersey legal. Lesniak told the Record that under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has no authority to allow one state to engage in a form of commerce while denying it to others.
“A big yes vote sends a strong message to Congress and the courts that New Jersey has the same right to the revenues, jobs and tourism that legal sports betting brings to the state of Nevada,” Lesniak said following Tuesday’s vote.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie agreed. He said last week before the vote that he would work with Lesniak to “develop a strategy on how we try to implement the will of the people” on betting.
“I think it’s important for New Jersey to have this option, and I don’t think it’s fair that it’s restricted to just a few states,” Christie said. “Gaming is surrounding us everywhere.”
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