Governor Chris Christie confident of winning any potential federal challenge, Assembly also approves bill allowing mobile betting at racetracks.
New Jersey will ignore a federal ban and permit betting on sports this fall, Governor Chris Christie said yesterday.
Speaking at a conference at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, Christie spoke of reinvigorating the city’s ailing gambling industry by allowing sports betting at casinos and the state’s four race tracks.
Christie signed a sports betting bill in January, but it was believed that before implementing it, the state would try to overturn the US law banning the activity in all but four states, dating back to 1992. However, Christie said the regulations his administration will issue next week are not intended to overturn this ban.
“If someone wants to stop us, then let them try to stop us,” Christie said. “Am I expecting there may be legal action taken against us to prevent it? Yes. But I have every confidence we’re going to be successful.”
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (Paspa) of 1992 limits sports betting to Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and New Jersey. At the time, New Jersey failed to apply in time to join them.
Senator Raymond Lesniak, who tried to overturn the federal ban, said in a statement: ”To those with a vested interest in the status quo – the professional sports organisations who take a hypocritical stance that wagering will ‘ruin the purity of the game,’ and the Nevada-based gaming conglomerates that have enjoyed that state’s stranglehold on sports wagering for the last 20 years – I respectfully say, ‘Bring it on.’
“The sooner you make an issue of New Jersey’s noncompliance with an unconstitutional federal ban, the sooner we can defeat that ban in the courts, and put New Jersey on the same competitive footing as the rest of the nation when it comes to sports wagering.”
Meanwhile the New Jersey Assembly has approved a bill to allow betting on mobile devices at the state’s four racetracks.
Assembly bill 2610, sponsored by Republican Ronald Dancer, seeks to update the state’s legislature to permit the use of mobile gaming devices in all indoor and outdoor areas of the racetrack. The committee voted 76-0 in favour of the bill.
The move would see racetrack patrons place bets and receive information about racing odds, results and other information on their iPads or iPhones.
Addressing the Assembly committee on Thursday, Dancer said: “Allowing race tracks to take advantage of the technology that has transformed our daily lives will improve the experience for fans and give New Jersey facilities a competitive edge over other states competing for a share of the horse racing market.”
“Horse racing had missed an entire generation of ‘dot-com’ users and electronic mobile gaming devises should be a sure bet to expand the sport’s fan base,” he added.
Earlier this week the New Jersey Assembly approved a similar bill which would permit the use of mobile devices for betting purposes within casino grounds.
Both bills are designed to give their respective industries a boost, having seen revenues plummet in recent years.
Nevada is the only state which currently allows betting on mobile devices.