New Jersey Wants Nationwide Sports Betting
Sports bettors across the country could legally place sports bets with New Jersey casinos, no matter where the bettor is located, under the terms of a new bill making its way through the State Legislature. The measure, which made it out of a Senate Committee this week, still has a long way to go before a bettor in Alaska could drop a dime on the Giants via the Internet.
If the bill became law, sports bettors in other parts of the US, and the world, would be permitted to wager on sports through Jersey sports books. The big hurdle is that the State Gaming Commission must agree that interstate sports betting does not violate Federal law. Though the bill may sound like wishful thinking, it’s actually an important step toward the NJ goal of revitalizing Atlantic City casinos.
When Garden State voters approved the sports betting bill last November, it was contingent on the Federal Government lifting their ban on sports betting. It’s been widely assumed that Jersey litigators would challenge the Wire Act in Federal court, but that’s yet to happen.
Different Than Poker
On a different front, New Jersey is also pushing to be one of the first states to offer up legal online poker to its residents. To that end, a bill putting the okay on online poker also made its way out of a Senate committe this week. A similar bill was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie last year due to legal concerns. This version is expected to become law thanks to the DOJ reversal on the Wire Act last December.
Unlike the sports betting bill, the poker bill limits online gaming to within Jersey borders. The poker measure also opens the path to online versions of any game that’s legal in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City casinos are suffering from plumetting revenues and online gaming is currently their best chance of competing with offshore casinos and Las Vegas. (Nevada is currently poised to be the first state offering online poker.)
It looks like online poker is well on its way to becoming a reality in New Jersey, but legal sports betting could still be a few court battles away.
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