New Jersey to Be Exempt from Sports Betting Act?

Rep. Frank Pallone plans to seek exemption of New Jersey from the PASPA

After the New Jersey voters expressed positively on sports betting in their state, an announcement came that a New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. has decided to launch a Congressional bill which would exempt New Jersey from the provisions of the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Apparently, this way Pallone wants to avoid a long and expensive legal battle over whether New Jersey residents should be allowed to bet on sports. His Congressional initiative will probably run along with a state senator Ray Lesniak's bill which has a similar purpose - to introduce sports betting for New Jersey punters and boost the troubled land gambling industry in Atlantic City.

However, Pallone's bill is different from Lesniak's as it does not envisage wagering on college games, which could trigger some opposition from that domain and further on present an obstacle for its passage.

In terms of his bill, Pallone stated: "New Jersey voted for, and deserves a bite of the apple in terms of sports betting. Any delay in making this possible is a loss of profits for local businesses, which is unacceptable."

He was supported in this by State Rep. Ruben J. Ramos,Jr. who assessed that his bill could be an important first step in improving the revenues of the state's gambling venues: "Our racetracks are fighting an unfair fight against the competition. Sports betting is a billion-dollar industry, and only four states are allowed by federal law to benefit from legal sports wagering. This is a first step towards adding New Jersey to that list, generating tax dollars, creating jobs and breathing new life into our racetracks."

In regard to the Lesniak bill, which should be ready by the end of the week, it proposes that the tax rate on casino and racetrack profits should be set at 8 percent, just like the rate the land casinos in the state pay on their gambling revenue. It also proscribes winning bets as taxable income, which would have to be declared by patrons, whereas the casinos would be required to report winnings of $10,000 or more to the IRS.

According to Lesniak, state Sen. Jim Whelan, who won re-election Tuesday, 'will consider the bill later this month, and both houses of the state legislature plan to fast-track the measure' so as to put it before Gov. Chris Christie before the current session ends in early January.

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