N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Signs Sports Betting Bill

Oct 20, 14 N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Signs Sports Betting Bill

Oct. 20, 2014 – New Jersey bettors may soon have the ability to place wagers on their favorite sports teams. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday signed a bill that would end the state’s prohibition of sports betting in casinos and at racetracks.

“This will help clear away the legal obstacles and provide a clear path to finally bringing sports betting to New Jersey,” said N.J. Senator Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union), a sponsor of the bill, in a statement Friday.

“It will be a lifeline to Atlantic City casinos and for the horse racing industry, creating jobs and economic opportunities that will serve the city and the state for years to come,” he said.

On Facebook, Lesniak announced that he planned to place the first legal sports wager on Sunday, Oct. 26

The state has been trying since 2012 to legalize sports betting, but were unsuccessful in their attempt to challenge the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which banned sports betting in all but four states.

Those four states – Delaware, Nevada, Montana and Oregon – all offered sports betting at the time PASPA was passed and were thus exempt from the law that still prohibits sports betting in the other 46 states.

Nevada and Delaware are the only two states to still accept wagers on professional sports.  Delaware sports betting is limited to horse racing and parlay wagers on professional football games.

The Delaware Lottery oversees sports betting there, but because of PASPA, New Jersey legislators were unable to set up state-regulated sports betting.

Instead, the bill signed Friday will end some of New Jersey’s prohibitions against sports betting, but keep the state un-involved.  Casinos and racetracks will be responsible for regulating sports betting, and sports wagers will still be illegal outside of casino and racetrack locations.

Gov. Christie issued a statement Friday in which he re-iterated that he is “a strong proponent of legalized sports wagering in the state of New Jersey.”

While New Jersey bettors would be able to bet on collegiate sports under the bill, they would not be allowed to place bets on college sporting events taking place in New Jersey.

The bill also prohibits betting on any sporting event in which a New Jersey college sports team participates.

Those restrictions are in response to past threats from the NCAA that, should New Jersey legalize sports betting, the NCAA would no longer hold events in the state.

By Monday, professional sports leagues had filed a complaint in the hopes of stopping sports betting in New Jersey before it gets started.  In response to other attempts to set up sports betting, professional leagues have maintained that betting would damage the integrity of their games.

The NCAA has said that “the spread of legalized sports wagering is a threat to student-athlete well-being and the integrity of athletic competition.”

However, without a court injunction against New Jersey, sports leagues will not be able to stop Sen. Lesniak from placing his historic bet this coming Sunday.

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Written by Matt Isaacs

Matt is the Editorial Manager for the LotteryHUB News Team. Matt graduated from Rutgers University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies in May 2013

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