New Jersey Congress Representatives, have reintroduced two different bills to the House of Representatives in an attempt to legalise sports betting in the United States.
While one bill targets New Jersey’s sports betting directly, the other would see any state in the US eligible to make wagering on sporting events legal.
The US Congressmen, Frank Pallone and Frank LoBiondo, are challenging the 25-year-old Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), where wagering on sports is illegal around the US.
Nevada punters can legally make a bet, but can only engage in single-sport wagering.
Delaware, Oregon, and Montana, also allow some sports betting since these four states met the 1991 deadline of approving sports wagering and were therefore exempted from PASPA.
While legislation to legalise sports betting in the US has been proposed before, it has been defeated time and time again. But the pair announced last Wednesday they are introducing the bills again.
Congressman Pallone has proposed the NJ Bet Act which would make New Jersey exempt from the PASPA’s ban, while Congressman LoBiondo is aiming to allow any state in the US to legalise sports betting for four years under the Sports Gaming Opportunity Act.
Congressman Pallone has explained sports betting still occurs despite the laws, and by introducing these exemptions the benefits would be mutually exclusive. The American Gaming Association has backed up these claims revealing hundreds of billions of dollars are wagered illegally on sports in the US each year.
“Sports-betting is already happening across our state and across the country, but instead of being appropriately overseen and raising needed revenue for our casinos, racetracks, businesses, and the state, these bets are placed through illegal enterprises,” Congressman Pallone said.
“It is time to bring this activity out of the shadows.
“I am pleased to join Congressman LoBiondo in reintroducing these common-sense bills that would level the playing field and give New Jersey’s citizens the opportunity to share in the profits from sports betting.”
Sports betting has been one of Congressman Pallone’s main point of focus for quite some time, and while there have been many attempts to legalise New Jersey sports betting at state level, there’s been no progress thus far.
Although Congressman LoBiondo is looking to legalise sports betting nationwide, he agrees with Congressman Pallone shining a light on the disadvantages off-the-books betting brings to Atlantic City.
“I strongly believe that sports-betting can help give our famed resort town a hand up, providing yet another unique option for patrons in addition to the quality entertainment, dining, shopping and beaches,” he said.
“I’m pleased Congressman Pallone, our casinos, local elected officials and an overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents agree.
“Over the years we have made progress on bringing sports-betting to our state and I hope that a bipartisan coalition in Congress can come together in support of legalising and regulating sports-betting.”
The pair have tried before to legalise sports betting before, both introducing their respective proposals in the last 18 months but neither made any progress.
But the laws now sit in the hands of the Supreme Court, after the court declined to hear or dismiss the case in January. Instead a briefing on the government’s position from the US Solicitor General was requested.
This could mean the Supreme Court will hear the case, and it could then see the legalisation of sports betting in New Jersey in the future, especially with the broader efforts to challenge PASPA by a number of other states, including Michigan, Mississippi, New York and Pennsylvania.
Gambling agitators from both sides of the coin – pro and against – are waiting with baited breath for the historically pro-gambling and newly inaugurated President Donald Trump to make his stance clear on online sports betting. With a greater focus on stoking the USA economy it’s hard seeing the POTUS allowing billions to continue to flood offshore.