12/20/11 : Senator's plan to get new measure through the full Legislature this week has not been achieved
New Jersey senator Ray Lesniak almost accomplished his aim to get a sports betting legalization bill through both the state Assemby and the Senate this week, but the removal of internet and mobile elements from the bill was sufficient to delay the process until early January.
Having made fast progress through legislative committees, the measure was approved by the General Assembly Thursday on a 54 to 15 vote with one abstention. However, there was insufficient time for the essential Senate approval before Lesniak can take the bill to Governor Chris Christie, and that can only happen now after the festive season when the Senate reconvenes on January 9, 2012.
“We want our casinos and racetracks to hit the ground running should New Jersey prove successful in overturning this unfair federal law and this is a step in the right direction,” John Burzichelli, a Democrat member of the General Assembly from southern New Jersey told local media.
“New Jersey must be in the forefront of this gaming option should the opportunity arise and this bill will accomplish that goal. We'll be ready to go once we work through the legislative process.”
Gov. Christie has given an undertaking that he will respect the wishes of the electorate following a positive vote for sports betting in the November 8 state ballot, although this could introduce a conflict with federal authorities opposed to changes to the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Promotion Act.
Lesniak has said the state should be prepared to take the matter to court if necessary.