Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Michigan are gearing up to join New Jersey in the fight for legalized sports betting in the United States. There’s just one catch, they want New Jersey to foot the bill.
Early this week, Pennsylvania State Rep. Robert Matzie wrote in a memo to fellow lawmakers that he’s planning on introducing legislation that allow the Keystone State to offer sports betting, should it become legal at the federal level.
In Michigan, Rep. Robert Kosowski is reviving his efforts to put a measure on the ballot that would allow his state’s citizens to approve sports betting in casinos. This measure also depends on a repeal of the federal prohibition on wagering.
Neither Rep. Matzie nor Rep. Kosowski has expressed any interest in helping New Jersey actually pay for the court battle, which has already cost the state millions of dollars.
For New Jersey politicians, the influx of new allies is something of a double-edged sword. While more support for regulated sports betting from other states is a good from a public relations standpoint, it’s also bad news for Atlantic City’s troubled casinos.
One major factor in the decline of Atlantic City has been increased competition from casinos in neighboring states, particularly Pennsylvania. And anyone who thinks Rep. Matzie is joining the fight on principle should take a look at his comments on the subject, as reported on by LegalSportsReport:
Our Commonwealth is uniquely positioned to oversee sports betting in all its forms, and should be ready to act should the federal ban be lifted. As evidenced by yet another record setting year of gaming revenues, our licensed facilities are thriving. Legalizing sports betting will simply enable Pennsylvania to regulate a multimillion dollar industry that already exists.
In short, New Jersey’s effort to save Atlantic City through legal sports betting is something that could actually hasten the demise of even more of its few remaining casinos. That is the dictionary definition of the word irony.