In the United States, a Congressman from New Jersey has announced that he intends to introduce federal legislation that would amend the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to allow the eastern state to conduct online sportsbetting within its borders.
If passed, the proposed legislation from Frank Pallone would see the governing 1992 legislation amended and include New Jersey on a list alongside Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana in being permitted to offer sportsbetting.
“We’re thrilled to have Congressman Pallone fighting for New Jersey’s interests regarding sports wagering in Washington,” said New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak.
“The current federal ban on sports wagering is unfair and arbitrary, giving preferential treatment to gaming operators in just four states while pushing sportsbetting underground throughout the rest of the country. We can no longer turn our backs on the millions being spent on sports wagering in New Jersey currently, which support organised crime and off-shore betting operators.”
The move from the Democrat follows a revelation from fellow New Jersey Congressman Frank LoBiondo that he will be introducing legislation asking the federal government to lift the ban on sportsbetting and offer every state a window in which to challenge the existing prohibition.
Last week saw Governor Chris Christie sign legislation into law that would allow New Jersey to offer state-regulated intra-state sportsbetting to residents. However, the state must now overturn PASPA before those over the age of 21 will be permitted to place sports wagers at special lounges due to be created in casinos and racetracks.
“It’s taken nearly a decade to get to this point but I’m happy to see progress being made,” said New Jersey State Senator Jeff Van Drew.
“Between Governor Christie signing the legislation last week and Congressman Pallone taking up the cause this week, it’s safe to say that sports wagering isn’t an issue of if, but when.
“By legalising sports wagering in New Jersey once and for all we can allow our casinos and racetracks to reap the economic rewards but we can also step in to make sure that sports wagering is regulated and above-board to protect the integrity of the sport.”
The New Jersey electorate voted almost two to one in favour of a sports betting measure in a statewide referendum late last year.
“We’re very happy that now, after this long and difficult process, the question of legal sports betting is at last moving through the proper venues,” said IMEGA director Joe Brennan Jr.