Harrah's stalls vote on New Jersey sports betting amendment
By Kyle Maichle
TRENTON, New Jersey: One of the leading names in the casino gambling industry, Harrah's, asked the New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee to delay a committee vote on their version of the sports betting amendment.
Harrah's is opposed to the sports betting amendment because of a federal law banning sports betting in all but four states of the nation. The four states that currently allow sports betting are Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. Marybel Batjer, the Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for Harrah's, said in a Philadelphia Inquirer report that a statewide referendum vote without changing federal law would be "premature." Batjer also said that the amendment does not have the support of the New Jersey Casino Association.
Senator Raymond Lesniak who sponsored the amendment, was appalled by Harrah's actions by stating: "I am really astonished at Harrah's that they would continue to fight against New Jersey's interests in order to protect their monopoly in Nevada on sports betting." Lesniak also said that the sports betting amendment is needed to get new revenue for the state's casino industry that is struggling. Newly released figures from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission shown that revenue for major casinos in New Jersey have dropped nine percent from May 2009 to May 2010.
Because of the delay, the Assembly committee vote will not take place until June 17, 2010. A full Senate vote for their version of the amendment is scheduled for June 21, 2010.