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Support for Legalizing Sports Betting from NJ Senator

March 26, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — As part of his efforts to convince the rest of the New Jersey state legislature to overturn its 17-year-old ban on sports betting in that state, Senator Raymond Lesniak has been more and more active in his attempts to win support for his cause. A lawsuit he is co-sponsoring to overturn the ban was filed on Monday.

In a statement delivered earlier this week, Senator Lesniak said that, since gambling was so widespread in the U.S., the federal law that prohibits states and individuals from sponsoring, operating, advertising, promoting the activity was unfairly depriving the government from much-needed revenue. 

That law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, or PASPA, effectively limits legal sports wagering to a handful of states still allowed to permit the practice, since they had it in place before the law was passed. Those states are Oregon, Delaware, Montana, and, of course, Nevada.

“This federal law deprives the State of New Jersey of over $100 million of yearly revenues, as well as depriving our casinos, racetracks and internet operators of over $500 million of gross income,” Senator Lesniak said earlier this week. “Rather than supporting thousands of jobs, economic activity and tourism, the federal ban supports offshore operators and organized crime.

“Our casinos are suffering, our racetracks are dying and our state budget needs revenues. Today we take the first step to undoing the injustice of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, healing our casinos, saving the life of our racetracks, adding revenues to our state budget, and preserving and creating thousands of jobs.

“Today, a lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the people of the State of New Jersey, the Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Association, The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, The Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey and the Standardbred Breeder & Owners Association of New Jersey, in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, to declare unconstitutional a law passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States of America on October 28, 1992.” 

The Senator goes on to claim that PASPA is in direct violation of a number of U.S. laws, including the 5th, 10th, 11th, and 14th amendments, as well as the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

You can read the senator’s full statement here. Read more on the lawsuit to overturn the ban here.