New Jerseyans Back Sports Betting, but U.S. Law Stands in the Way
By David Stout | November 11, 2011 12:19 pm

Nearly two-thirds of New Jersey voters approve of betting on sports at casinos and racetracks, Tuesday’s elections demonstrated. Unfortunately for Garden Staters who like to gamble, the federal government does not approve, a situation that at least one state lawmaker has vowed to fight.

The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog notes that 64 percent of New Jersey voters backed the betting measure. But the ballot language did not indicate that there is a federal ban on sports betting in all but four states, Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana, which managed to get themselves grandfathered out of a 1992 federal law curbing betting.

State Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union County) told The Newark Star-Ledger that he will introduce legislation authorizing the Casino Control Commission to issue licenses for sports betting to casinos and racetrack operators. Assuming that it passes, he said, state Attorney General Paula T. Dow could go to federal court and ask that the ban on sports betting be declared unconstitutional.

Lesniak indicated that he hopes New Jersey will have sports betting by the 2012 National Football League season. The NFL is on record opposing gambling on its games, but people whose hearing is unimpaired may detect occasional conversations about point spreads around the water cooler.

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