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Atlantic City, Beyond Atlantic City, Casino Gaming, Political

My August Casino Connection Column

   I always appreciate feedback on my thoughts.  If you enjoy this column, feel free to let the good people at Casino Connection know those thoughts.

Nanny-State New Jersey vs. Big-Government Washington
By Jesse O. Kurtz
                                     

Does New Jersey have the right to allow sports betting, or can federal government usurp that right?

    In 1992, President George H. W. Bush signed into law a federal ban on sports gambling. Former New Jersey Senator and NBA star Bill Bradley sponsored the bill. Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon were given exceptions, because they already allowed sports wagering; New Jersey was given until January 1994 to legalize it. But Christie Todd Whitman and Assembly Speaker Chuck Haytaian blocked the expansion, figuring that sports betting on the ballot during the 1993 governor’s race would motivate urban voters and effectively push incumbent Governor James Florio and the Democrats to victory. Mrs. Whitman and Mr. Haytaian won. Atlantic City lost.
    Senator Jeff Van Drew has been a strong advocate of sports wagering since being elected as assemblyman in 2002. This year, Van Drew and Senator Raymond J. Lesniak have sponsored S-143, which, subject to voter approval, would permit in-person wagering at casinos on professional sports. Lesniak has even offered pro bono legal services to challenge the federal ban.
    The legislature is out of session until the fall. S-143 currently is in the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, where Senator Jim Whelan is chairman. Its companion bill has passed the Assembly.
    “Jeff Van Drew is the hero,” says V. George Amiriantz, Atlantic City resident and longtime supporter of legalized sports betting. Amiriantz, who testified before Whelan’s committee on the bill, wants a network of sports betting kiosks at age-restricted locations throughout Atlantic City. Under the plan, kiosks would be connected to one or more sports books inside casinos. Users would first obtain a membership and line of credit with the sports book. Winners would be required to return to the sports book for their winnings. “Somebody should stand up for Atlantic City restaurants,” Amiriantz maintains. “The kiosks will spread redevelopment around town.”
    If the bill passes committee, Senate Majority Leader Richard Codey will have to post it for a vote by the whole Senate. Senator Codey controls what legislation is voted on in the Senate, and in exchange for posting the bill, he’s made it clear that sports wagering must extend to horse racing tracks. The senator’s cousin, Lawrence Codey, is a past New Jersey racing commissioner; his brother, Donald Codey, is general manager of Freehold Raceway. The casinos have already been coerced into subsidizing New Jersey horse racing to the tune of $176 million.
    It’s hypocritical for sports betting to be illegal if you and I partake, but legal when government benefits from these activities through taxation. Hypocrisy notwithstanding, millions of dollars will be spent and thousands of people will be drawn to Atlantic City for sports wagering. Sports wagering will take Atlantic City to another echelon and continue its economic growth.
    It is difficult to push back the tentacles of the federal government. History will offer a few laughs for those observing nanny-state New Jersey accusing the federal government of growing too large and intrusive. Some of us here in South Jersey will laugh, too, as we cheer on Trenton to legalize sports wagering in Atlantic City.

Jesse O. Kurtz is managing editor of The Atlantic City Scoop (https://cityofatlantic.wordpress.com), a blog dedicated to politics in the big city. He can be reached at JesseOKurtz@gmail.com

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About Jesse O. Kurtz

I am committed to fulfilling the promise of Atlantic City. The town would benefit from greater political participation by average citizens. Hopefully, some of the posts herein will encourage you to get more involved in your community. This blog will also feature other topics and subjects beyond Atlantic City. I hope that you will come to love Atlantic City as much, or more than I do.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “My August Casino Connection Column

  1. It’s a waste of time pursuing this. The Republicans blew it in the 1990s (specifically Chuck Hayatian) when they couldn’t agree to put the measure on the ballot when they knew we were under a deadline. They were afraid that it would bring out the minority vote and therefore defeat Christine Todd Whitman, another RINO (Republican-in-name-only) who we seem to love in NJ.

    I certainly agree that sports betting would have been a great addition to AC, but that time is gone. Fighting the federal government is like fighting city hall. We know that we’re right but can’t win because they have all the balls on their side of the net. A waste of time and money.

    Posted by dave202 | August 21, 2008, 3:04 pm
  2. http://articles.latimes.com/1997/dec/06/sports/sp-61336

    ALSO

    Below is a list of major gambling scandals in college athletics.

    1951: The City College of New York, a year after winning the national championship, was implicated in a game-fixing ring that involved a half-dozen other schools, more than 30 players and organized crime.

    1963: Thirty-seven basketball players from 22 schools were caught in a scheme to fix games.

    1981: A Boston College basketball player and four others were found guilty of point shaving.

    1985: Four Tulane basketball players, including star John “Hot Rod” Williams, were arrested and accused of point shaving, prompting Tulane to shut down its basketball program for four years.

    1994: Northwestern running back Dennis Lundy was suspended for gambling and point shaving.

    1996: Three Boston College football players were accused of betting against their team, and 13 players in all were suspended for betting on college football, pro football and baseball.

    1997: Two Arizona State basketball players, Stevin “Hedake” Smith and Isaac Burton Jr., pleaded guilty to a point-shaving scheme.

    1998: Northwestern basketball player Dion Lee and former Notre Dame kicker Kevin Pendergast were convicted of their involvement in a point-shaving scheme.

    2001: Florida guard Teddy Dupay was linked to a gambling investigation and declared ineligible for the 2001-02 season, ending his college career.

    Source: http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/basketball/news?slug=jo-gambling031808&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

    Posted by Teddy | August 21, 2008, 6:16 pm
  3. Hey Teddy…

    You know why they caught most of these incidents? Because the Nevada sports books noticed unusual movement in the lines and alerted authorities. If sports betting is completely legal, these icidents will never happen.

    Posted by dave202 | August 22, 2008, 9:51 am
  4. Yeah-no one wants to put pro or non-pro atheletes in danger of being extorted or blackmailed, but would this increase that risk-or make it more noticible like dadve202 pointed-out?
    Having the racetracks go along with this could help.
    Letting the little-guys & gals in on this-won’t ever happen, it probably won’t even mean more jobs, and you can place racetrack bets online now, so what’s to prevent the racetracks from talikng the action online?
    Has the legislation been written yet?

    Posted by gambler | August 25, 2008, 5:45 pm

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