New Jersey sports betting approved by state, congressional vote pending

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January 25, 2012

New Jersey

By Bailey Ludlam

TRENTON, New Jersey: The voter-approved New Jersey sports betting amendment may be moving forward.

Approved in November 2011 by 64%, the proposed amendment currently remains non-binding due to a federal law that limits sports betting in four states. In 1992, the U.S. Congress passed the "Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act." The Act banned sports betting in all states with the exception of those states that already allowed some form of betting when the law was approved. Such states include: Montana, Oregon, Delaware, and Nevada.

The amendment will go into effect if the law is repealed or overturned.

The question on the ballot asked:

"Shall the amendment to Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, agreed to by the Legislature, providing that it shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law wagering at casinos or gambling houses in Atlantic City and at current or former running and harness horse racetracks on the results of professional, certain college, or amateur sport or athletic events, be approved?"

On January 9 the New Jersey State Legislature approved a bill that would allow the state Casino Control Commission to issue licenses to casinos and racetracks to accept bets on some professional and collegiate events.[1][2] The bill was signed and approved by Gov. Chris Christie.[3]

As of January 23 two proposals were filed in the United States Congress. One was filed by Rep. Frank LoBiondo and another filed by Rep. Frank Pallone. LoBiondo's proposal calls for allowing states to seek permission to circumvent the 1992 federal law. Pallone's proposal, however, focuses on an exemption solely for the state of New Jersey.[4]

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