March 02, 2010

New Jersey Senate challenging Federal sportsbetting ban

In America, the Senate for the eastern state of New Jersey has passed a resolution that will allow it to join one of its members in challenging as unconstitutional the Federal ban on sportsbetting.

New Jersey Senator Raymond Lesniak is currently pursuing a legal challenge to the Federal ban on sports wagering and a resolution passed by voice vote last Monday will see his fellow members support the Democrat’s efforts.

According to a statement from the Interactive Media Entertainment And Gaming Association (iMEGA), the legislation will allow the President of the Senate, Stephen Sweeney, to take ‘such legal action on behalf of the Senate as the Senate President shall deem appropriate and necessary to challenge enforcement of the Federal Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act, which establishes a selective prohibition on sportsbetting in the United States’.

“The Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act was signed into law in 1992,” read a statement issued by Lesniak following the vote.

“The Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act banned all sportsbetting except in the states of Nevada, which had all forms of sportsbetting, and Delaware, Oregon and Montana, which had limited lottery forms of sportsbetting.

“The Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act gave New Jersey one year to legalise sportsbetting through an amendment to its Constitution approved by the electorate at the ballot box in November of 1992. The New Jersey Senate voted twice to place such a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot, an effort I supported both times. The Assembly never posted it for a vote and New Jersey was denied an opportunity to boost tourism in Atlantic City and revenues for education, senior citizens and the handicapped as those funds from casino gambling are dedicated in our Constitution.

“On March 23, I filed a lawsuit to declare the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional. Since that lawsuit was filed, legislators in Missouri, Rhode Island and Illinois have joined our effort and introduced resolutions for Congress to repeal the ban. The Iowa Senate has released from committee legislation to legalise sportsbetting once the Federal ban is lifted. The Minnesota Legislature is also considering a measure to offer sports wagering games and licensed sports bookmaking once it’s legal.

“Delaware, supported by a $50,000 donation from its racinos, has filed suit to allow it to expand its limited sportsbetting authorised under the Professional And Amateur Sports Protection Act. In four short months of operation, its limited form of sportsbetting has brought four million dollars into its state treasury.

“Here's what's at stake for New Jersey; $650 million a year in gross sports wagering revenues as estimated by LVSC, a division of Cantor Fitzgerald. Plus $60 million a year in state revenues.

“That's $650 million a year of gross profits for our casinos and racetracks, creating and keeping thousands of jobs and attracting tourism to Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore in Monmouth County.

“If you went to Atlantic City on Super Bowl Sunday you would have seen a ghost town while Las Vegas hotels were at full capacity. The same will hold true for March Madness and the Final Four. What’s overlooked in this debate is the tourism attraction from soccer games. You won't be able to get a room in Atlantic City when Real Madrid plays Manchester United and the World Cup will eclipse even March Madness as a tourist attraction.

“We dropped the ball when given a chance in 1992. Let’s not fumble again.”

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