Update: New Jersey Focuses on Online Gambling and Sports Betting… Again

Is legalization close at hand?

With a hearing by the Senate State Government and Wagering Committee about to start in the US state of New Jersey, the focus fell again on this progressive state which has in the past presented a number of online gambling legalization initiatives.

This time, all eyes are on the state Senate, where the Government and Wagering Committee met to hear testimony 'on the importance of authorising sports wagering for the gaming industry of New Jersey.''

In regards to the matter, the major supporter of online gambling in the state, Senator Raymond Lesniak, expressed hope that Governor Chris Christie and federal regulators would pay attention to the testimony given in the hearing.

He also added: 'I think the referendum is going to pass overwhelmingly for many reasons, the most significant being that people are already betting on sports teams and want to bet on sports teams.

'It'll be a big boost in tourism for Atlantic City and for jobs at the casinos and racetracks. Atlantic City will be packed on Super Bowl week, for the Final Four, when the Giants play the Eagles, for numerous occasions when marquee sports events are taking place.''

In conclusion, he said casino operators 'have come to realise they need new sources of revenue, despite some of it going to the racetrack. If they insist on 100 percent of it, they'll get 100 percent of nothing.''

Another big report for the industry in the state arrived from the State Senate Gaming and Tourism Committee, which needs to ensure that New Jersey's sports betting bill is drafted and ready if the November poll conducted by the Fairleigh Dickenson University turns out to be successful.

According to Senator Jim Whelan, 'the legislature could act on the bill in a lame-duck session between the election and the end of the legislative term on 9 January, provided that implementation is conditional on the repeal of the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).'

'If this referendum should pass, we want to hit the ground running', he added. "We want to put a bill together so that when New Jersey goes back to court [to overturn the PASPA], not only did we just pass the referendum, but we would have enabling legislation as well."

With sports betting legalization, an expert estimated that the state could benefit from the $10 billion-a-year industry, and earn some $100 million a year in tax revenues.

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