We have already reported on the success of the New Jersey referendum, by which voters overwhelmingly approved intrastate New Jersey sports betting despite a federal law prohibiting the practice.
That hasn’t stopped New Jersey state Senator Ray Lesniak from introducing legislation aimed at brining bookmakers back to the garden state casinos. The move is setting the stage for a showdown, which proponents of sports betting hope will result in the federal law being declared unconstitutional.
Legal experts believe the Federal government overstepped its mandate by prohibiting an activity (intrastate sports betting) which has little to do with interstate commerce and is thus outside the scope of federal law makers.
Lesniak has already re-introduced the sports betting bill before the state Senate and so far the Government, Wagering and Tourism & Historic Preservation Committees have all voted to support the sports betting bill.
Industry experts argue that the new measure could put New Jersey in a situation, where the state would contradict current American gambling laws. Presently only Nevada along with a handful of states are allowed to provide extensive betting opportunities on pro and college sporting events.
The NJ Senator expressed his hopes that the state Assembly and Senate will support the bill to get it on Governor Chris Christie’s desk for review and signature all within 30 days.
In case Governor remains true to his word and approves the bill, there still remains the question of federal ban on sports betting, including online sportsbooks in United States, anywhere else except Nevada (and in some limited cases Oregon, Montana and Delaware).
According to United States gambling news all Lesniak’s previous attempts to litigate against the federal law were dismissed by relevant courts.
Lesniak keeps his hopes high and comments: “We have essentially set up a constitutional crisis in which the will of the people, expressed at the ballot box, has come into conflict with a flawed and ultimately unconstitutional federal law. This federal ban blatantly discriminates between states and creates a monopoly for Las Vegas casinos and illegal gambling rings.”
It remains to be seen how quickly New Jersey will be able to overcome the last hurdle standing in the way of legal sports betting in the state.