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Friday, August 8, 2014

Sports Betting in NJ is Dead (for Now)

Tonight Governor Christie unconditionally vetoed the bill which would have attempted to legalize sports betting at New Jersey casinos and racetracks.  As a result, both industries are left wanting for alternative sources of income.

As much as this hurts racetracks, the Governor made the right decision.  This bill, rushed through three days after the United States Supreme Court refused to hear NJ's appeal of multiple decisions finding federal law trumps NJ's state law with regards to sports betting was a bad bill.  The legislation, championed by Senator Lesniak, took a statement by the Fed's lawyer as a loophole the state could take to have legal gambling despite the fact many legal scholars felt the law proposed would also fail muster.  The Governor saw this attempt as a lost cause and indicated the court's decision must be respected; for now.

The Governor informed the legislature that he is willing to consider another law legalizing sports betting after careful review of the court's decision.  Whether or not there is a run around the ban on wagering on college and professional sports remains to be seen, but considering the costs of attempting to defend legislation all the way through to the Supreme Court, it is prudent to take the time to study and craft legislation rather than whipping something out of thin air as was done.

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