On the back of Tuesday’s referendum vote, State Senator Ray Lesniak revealed plans to introduce sports betting legislation as early as Thursday in hopes of pushing the bill through before the current legislative session ends on January 10.
Now Rep. Frank Pallone Jr, who represents the state’s 6th congressional district in Washington, has announced he will introduce a bill on Monday to grant New Jersey an immediate exemption from the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992.
“New Jersey voted for, and deserves a bite of the apple in terms of sports betting. Any delay in making this possible is a loss of profits for local businesses which is unacceptable,” Palone told the Associated Press.
“The law as it stands is unconstitutional and unfairly prohibits New Jersey from benefiting from this billion-dollar industry. We’re not asking to break the rules, rather that everyone play by the same rules.”
The New Jersey state attorney general’s office has yet to publicly declare whether it will push the federal government to overturn the ban on sports betting.
In 2009 Lesniak and State President Stephen Sweeney filed a complaint to have the ban ruled unconstitutional. However earlier this year, their case was thrown out by federal judge Garrett Brown, who stated that the lack of legalised sports betting in New Jersey “puts the cart before the horse.”
In a statement yesterday, Joe Brennan Jr, president of the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association, said that “Federal law now directly conflicts with the constitutional will of the people of New Jersey.”
“New Jersey’s citizens have voted to amend their state constitution to permit regulated sports wagering. This referendum was a reflection of the most powerful form of change in our government – a purely democratic, majority decision by popular vote.”