Last week in this space, we addressed the New Jersey sports betting bill that was signed into law by Governor Chris Christie. This week, two New Jersey congressmen have gone a step further by pushing legislation that would give all states until 2016 to legalize sports betting.
Back in 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASP) which banned sports betting in any state that didn’t already allow it. At the time only Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware had some form of legalized sports betting on the books and for the past two decades nothing had changed substantially. Now Representative Frank LoBiondo will attempt to repeal this 1992 law which would essentially give every state the ability to individually approve sports betting.
“New Jersey has been clear about its intent to host sports-betting,” said LoBiondo in a press release. “Legalizing sports-betting would strengthen Atlantic City in the face of stiff competition, giving it an additional edge to attract visitors and critical tourism dollars. Now that Governor Christie has signed the sports-betting bill into law, I will introduce my legislation today to give our state that right.”
While LoBiondo would like to repeal the federal ban on gambling outright, it is not the only conceivable course of action. LoBiondo also drafted a bill that would provide an exemption to PASP solely for the state of New Jersey.
Joining LoBiondo in his fight is fellow congressman Frank Pallone who introduced a similar bill that would exempt New Jersey from the existing federal law. Said Pallone, “The existing federal law is unconstitutional and arbitrary, giving four states access to this billion-dollar industry while shutting out the rest. The citizens of New Jersey have made it clear they want the opportunity to share in the profits from professional sports betting. This legislation will help even the playing field and uphold our state’s wishes on what is clearly a state issue.”