New Jersey rolls dice on sports betting

A New Jersey Senate committee has approved a constitutional amendment that would allow legalized sports betting in the Garden State. But it still faces several obstacles.

The amendment would permit sports wagering at Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey’s current and former racetracks.  Senator Ray Lesniak is the bill’s primary sponsor. He says it would have a big economic impact.

“It’s hundreds of millions of dollars, thousands of jobs,” said Lesniak.  “It’ll help revitalize not only Atlantic City but our race tracks. It’s something that we have to fight for,” he said.

The Economic Growth Committee voted 6-to-1 to advance the measure. 

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The one descenting vote came from Senator Dick Codey who voted against it because a federal law bans sports betting in all but four states.

“It can’t be legal in New Jersey unless a court of law says that the federal law is unconstitutional,” Codey said.  “So to put us through this exercise I think is meaningless at this point and just a waste of time,” he said.

Senator Lesniak says he’s confident his lawsuit will overturn the federal ban.

If the full legislature approves the constitutional amendment it would be put on next year’s ballot for voters to consider.

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