WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the nation gears up for Super Bowl XLIX next weekend, New Jersey Congressmen Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-06) and Frank A. LoBiondo (R-02) have again introduced their bills to legalize sports-betting. The Congressmen called for action on their legislative proposals, arguing that legalized sports-betting will benefit New Jersey’s economy and crack down on criminal enterprises which operate off-the-book betting in the shadows.
"Increasing competition from neighboring states and the proliferation of off-the-books betting has left Atlantic City’s gaming operations at a disadvantage. Sports-betting can help give our famed resort town a hand up, providing yet another unique option for patrons in addition to the quality entertainment, dining, shopping and beaches. I'm pleased Congressman Pallone, our casinos, local elected officials and an overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents agree and hope that a bipartisan coalition in Congress can come together in support of legalizing and regulating sports-betting," said Congressman LoBiondo.
“New Jersey voters have spoken loud and clear: they want to be able to place wagers on sporting events legally,” said Congressman Pallone. “We know that sports- betting is occurring without regulation and that the revenues from it are going to illegal enterprises rather than businesses in New Jersey, like our casinos and racetracks. It is time to bring this activity out of the shadows and allow states to regulate it. I am pleased to join Congressman LoBiondo in supporting this bipartisan legislation that will help level the playing field and give New Jersey’s citizens the opportunity to share in the profits from sports betting.”
The federal ban on professional and amateur sports betting enacted in 1992 currently prohibits states from implementing any new form of sports wagering. The Congressmen introduced two bills that would provide for changes in the law that would allow sports-betting in New Jersey. H.R. 457 (Pallone) would exempt New Jersey from current federal law and H.R. 416 (LoBiondo) opens a window in which all states can enact a law providing for sports-betting in their state for four years upon being signed by the President. Both lawmakers are again cosponsoring the other’s legislation. The Congressmen have previously joined Atlantic City casino executives and advocates for legalized sports betting on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
In 2011, New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to allow sports wagering in New Jersey, but its enactment has been delayed by lawsuits filed against the State of New Jersey by the NCAA and four professional sports leagues. New Jersey appealed its case in the courts, with the Third Circuit ruling against New Jersey and the Supreme Court denying to hear the state’s appeal. However, in November 2014, National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner Adam Silver announced his support for legalized sports wagering in an op-ed for The New York Times entitled “Legalize and Regulate Sports Betting”.