(Photo credit – nj.com blogs)
TRENTON – A northern New Jersey lawmaker said he plans a court challenge against the current federal ban on legal sports wagering.
State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, said the suit to be filed Monday will challenge the 1992 law on grounds of constitutional fairness and commerce issues.
“There is a whole kitchen sink of constitutional violations in this federal ban,” he said.
The goal is to allow sports betting in states that want it.
The move comes as Delaware Gov. Jack Markell proposed a sports betting lottery system during his budget address Thursday. The state has said the program could raise $55 million.
Regional casino gaming competition has contributed to Atlantic City’s declining revenues. Atlantic City long enjoyed both a close proximity to large population bases and the distinction of being the lone casino destination in the region. Now, the competition of slot parlors eliminates Atlantic City’s competitive advantage.
Sports betting can give Atlantic City a competitive advantage again, depending on whether we beat Delaware to the punch.
Derek Harper continues his story:
New Jersey lawmakers had sought to challenge the sports betting ban by passing legislation, setting up games and defending itself from the inevitable court challenge.
The Assembly approved a bill – locally sponsored by Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, and John Burzichelli, D-Cumberland, Salem, Gloucester – allowing casino sports wagering in February with voter approval.
But in the Senate, the bill, sponsored by Lesniak and Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, has been stalled in the Senate Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee since January 2008, where Chairman Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, has not scheduled a vote.
It is sad that Senator Jim Whelan, the Senator representing Atlantic City, is holding-up the legislation that would legalize sports betting.
I wrote a column on the background of legalizing sports betting in Atlantic City.
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.
I am cheering on Senator Lesniak, while Senator Whelan gets boos and hisses from me on obstructing the legalization of sports betting.
(Photo credit – PolitickerNJ)