December 14,2011 : Language removed to avoid delays
According to a report in the publication North Jersey.com this week, the inclusion of online gambling language in Senator Ray Lesniak's new sports betting bill will be reviewed and almost certainly dropped to avoid delays haggling with federal authorities and the governor himself.
Lesniak is wary of Gov. Chris Christie's power of veto, which he exercised in shooting down a previous bill on intrastate internet gambling which Lesniak had driven through the state legislature without a problem.
Confirming the report, Associated Press quoted Lesniak as saying that he was prepared to excise the online wagering language in his current bill only because: "I want to get into court as soon as possible to have the federal law declared unconstitutional … There’s plenty of time to address the Internet and phone aspects of it, either through a supplemental bill to the sports betting or in a comprehensive Internet gaming bill, which I am also very interested in.”
The sports betting bill has so far enjoyed a fast ride through legislative committee stages and follows a ballot vote by New Jersey residents in November that showed substantial support for the legalization of sports betting in the state.
Following the referendum, Gov. Christie indicated that he would respect the wishes of the electorate, but warned that before the bill could be implemented federal law would have to be challenged or repealed in the form of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
Senator Lesniak has indicated that he is up for a federal court challenge on the law, which restricts sports betting to Nevada, and exempts sports lotteries conducted in Oregon, Delaware, and Montana. Also excluded from the reach of PASPA are jai alai and parimutuel horse and dog racing.
The New Jersey Senate and Assembly are scheduled to vote on Lesniak's measure tomorrow (Thursday) and the Senator is hoping for another positive vote, enabling him to place the bill on the governor's desk this week.
In related news, a controversial proposal to licence land casino resorts in the state of Florida could become even more so if Representative Joseph Abruzzo has his way.
Rep. Abruzzo has made something of a name for himself through his persistent but so far unsuccessful attempts to introduce legalised intrastate online poker to Florida, and last week he indicated that he may be preparing another run at legalization, this time attaching his proposal to the already struggling land casino resort bill.