Governor Christie stuck a dagger in the hearts of Atlantic City's casinos and New Jersey's racetrack industry when he vetoed my legislation to allow sports betting. During Super Bowl week, every long weekend during the NFL season, the NCAA tournament and major sporting events, you can't get a room in Las Vegas while Atlantic City is a ghost town.
The legislation vetoed by Governor Christie would not have run afoul of federal law. Both the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Justice Department, in the case which ruled against my legislation legalizing sports betting, stated the federal law does not stop New Jersey from repealing its laws prohibiting sports betting — exactly what the new legislation vetoed by Governor Christie did at casinos and racetracks.
Lesniak: 'Everybody's scratching their heads' on Christie sports betting veto
Monmouth Racetrack was geared up and ready to take sports bets at the start of the NFL season. So what if the sports leagues filed a lawsuit to stop it? The state would not be a party. Monmouth Racetrack would be the defendant. And the sports leagues would lose.
Who benefits from Governor Christie's veto? Organized crime betting rings, off-shore Internet gaming sites and gaming interests in Nevada.
The FBI estimates $500 billion is bet on sports annually in the U.S. It's wrong to throw in the towel now. Those who have lost and will lose their jobs because of the continue decline of our casino and horseracing industries deserve a fight to the finish.
This Industry Insights blog was written by state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union).
Lesniak, who chairs the Senate Economic Growth Committee, has been a state lawmaker since 1978. He is a founding partner of the Parsippany-based law firm Weiner Lesniak LLP. This submission was written in response to this week’s NJBIZ editorial.
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