Monday, October 31, 2011 : New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to voice their opinion in just over a week’s time
In just over a week's time – on November 8 – New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to indicate in a public ballot whether they are for or against legalised sports betting in the state.
The indications from recent opinion polls suggest that the majority will vote for the proposal, opening the way for politicians like Sen. Ray Lesniak to push ahead with his plans to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act at federal level and instead introduce an intrastate law that will permit restricted and carefully controlled sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and New Jersey racetracks.
Earlier this year Lesniak's attempt to overturn the PASPA in a federal court failed, but he is determined to see his proposal through, and – subject to a positive referendum vote on November 8 – has indicated that he intends to fast track a bill through the state legislature and place it before the governor before the end of the current legislative season on January 10, creating the groundwork for the change in federal law that will be necessary to remove the PASPA obstacle.
Although opposed by the NFL, the casino operators in Atlantic City appear to support Lesniak, and there is little doubt that legalised sports betting would give a boost to attendance figures at gambling venues and generate tax revenues for the state.
Earlier this year the state legislature voted overwhelmingly for another Lesniak bill seeking legalised intrastate online gambling in New Jersey, only to see the measure vetoed by Governor Chris Christie.