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New Jersey sports betting legalization efforts continue following November vote

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November 15, 2011

New Jersey

By Bailey Ludlam

TRENTON, New Jersey: Just days following the November 8, 2011 general election vote two pieces of legislation were proposed in Congress and the New Jersey State Legislature in efforts to legalize sports betting in the state of New Jersey.

Voters overwhelming approved a proposed sports betting amendment. However, in light of an existing federal law, sports betting is banned in all states except those that already had sports betting when the law was enacted in 1992. The 2011 amendment, therefore, remains a "non-binding" measure, at least until the federal law is overturned or amended.

(Click here to read more about the measure and see election results).

On November 9, immediately following the election, U.S. House Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. announced that he would introduce legislation in Congress on November 14 in efforts to lift the federal ban on sports betting in Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey racetracks.[1][2]

Specifically, the legislation calls for removing the state of New Jersey from the federal ban and allowing a lottery, sweepstakes or other betting. The bill would not allow wagering on college games. If approved and enacted, the legislation would take effect immediately.[1]

Also following the vote, State Sen. Raymond Lesniak said he planned to introduce legislation on November 11 to authorize the Casino Control Commission to issue licenses for sports betting to casinos and racetrack operators. If approved, State Attorney General Paula Dow could then go to federal court and ask that the federal ban be declared unconstitutional.[3] Dow has not said whether she would pursue a lawsuit.[4]

In addition to authorizing licenses for sports betting, it would set the tax rate on casino and racetrack profits at 8 percent which is the same rate the casinos pay on their gambling revenue. The bill is expected to be fast tracked and legislators said they hope to have the bill on Gov. Chris Christie's desk by the end of the 2011 legislative session.[4]

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