Sports-Betting Referendum in New Jersey

By Maria McCoyGoogle

According to the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, only Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and Nevada have legal sports betting.  This coming election day, New Jersey voters will be able to decide, aside from who’s going to sit in the State Legislature, whether or not they want to change the state constitution in order to legalize sports-betting in local race-tracks and at Atlantic City casinos.

Compared to Nevada, New Jersey has a lot of catching up to do if they want to see any real gambling revenue.  Though, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll conducted about four weeks ago, almost 60% of eligible voters in New Jersey think that legalizing sports-betting is a step in the right direction.  

The biggest push for support comes from those who are trying to breathe life into Atlantic City.  The situation there is quite grim, and if sports-betting were to become legal, it will hopefully draw large crowds of sports fans to the casinos for all the major national sporting events like the World Series, Super Bowl, or NCAA playoffs.

Opponents of the bill clearly do not share the same enthusiasm.  They claim that since sports-betting only constitutes 2% of Nevada’s gross gambling profits, New Jersey can not expect a much greater result.  That being the case, the only effect of legalizing sports-betting, according to those opponents, is problems of addictive gambling.

Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, expressed that he would give his support as long as the referendum passes the Tuesday vote.  Unfortunately, even if it passes the vote and received gubernatorial support, the actual legislation process of changing the state constitution could theoretically take years. 

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