Sports betting in New Jersey dealt blow by US Supreme Court

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The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear New Jersey's appeal on bringing sports betting to their state. Existing federal law — the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 ("PASPA") — as well as two lower court rulings have kept New Jerseyans from being able to legally place a sports bet in their hometown. SBR interviewed outspoken NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak on the sports betting fight last week.

Senator Lesniak told SBR that even if the nation's highest court declined to hear the case or ruled against NJ that his state would proceed onward. Lesniak likened the situation to the fact that Washington and Colorado have their own state regulations with respect to marijuana and that there has been no intervention from the US Justice Department.

Lesniak has introduced a bill to skirt the federal government and one which would allow private racetracks and casinos to have private sports wagering without state regulation.

New Jersey lawmakers including State Senator Lesniak point to the economic boost that legal sports betting in the Garden State would provide, although online casino and poker gambling has gotten off to a much more tepid start than what had been anticipated. Lesniak attributed the blame for the lackluster start to online wagering profits to the marketing executives of the local casinos for failing to get the message out there to New Jerseyans. Sports betting though is another matter entirely and is responsible for hundreds of millions of annual revenue in Sin City, so lawmakers are very optimistic that New Jersey will similarly enjoy the economic benefit of legal sports betting.

We believe that the Justice Department will sit back and do nothing if we start sports betting on our own, just as they have in Colorado and Washington which have legalized marijuana —NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak

State Senator Lesniak has said that he intends to place the first sports wager in Monmouth Park in Oceanport. It remains to be seen whether or not the US Justice Department will throw its weight around and seek to block Lesniak and the rest of New Jersey from enjoying the ability to place a sports wager. Whatever the outcome, this case is a historic one for the Garden State and one in which the entire free world observes with open eyes.

PASPA prohibits sports betting across the US with the exceptions of Nevada, Delaware, Oregon, and Montana. Nevada is the largest beneficiary under the federal statute, operating a monopoly out west although Delaware does offer parlay wagering in their casinos.

Sportsbook Review will continually monitor and update readers concerning the latest out of New Jersey. For those who missed the State Senator Raymond Lesniak interview with SBR, it can be seen in its entirety below:

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