NJ Governor signs sports betting law
Jan. 17, 2012 - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law a constitutional amendment that will permit sports betting at the state’s casinos and race tracks.
Coming on the heels of a statewide ballot in which voters approved of regulated sports wagering by a 2-to-1 margin, this new law directs the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement to draft regulations to oversee legal sports betting by individuals aged 21 years or older.
“After a long and comprehensive effort to bring regulated sports betting to New Jersey, the governor’s endorsement today is very satisfying,” said IMEGA director Joe Brennan Jr. “After the last few years working with lawmakers to help this become a reality, it’s gratifying to see New Jersey’s casinos and race tracks will have the opportunity to offer sports betting, and allow regulators to protect the integrity of the games.”
Now that Gov. Christie has signed sports betting into law, new state attorney-general Jeff Chiesa will file suit in US District Court, to have the 20 year ban on expanded state-regulated sports betting overturned. The law, the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), restricts sports betting to only four US states, something that New Jersey lawmakers have long insisted was unconstitutional.
“With the successful referendum and this law signed by Gov. Christie today, it’s likely that PASPA will be overturned by the Federal courts,” Brennan said. “Once that happens, it will be left to each state to decide whether to permit sports betting, and how it will be offered.”
New Jersey lawmakers will now turn their attention to the state’s Internet gambling bill, which Gov. Christie now indicates he would be willing to sign if matters of constitutional law can be satisfied by the new draft bill. Gov. Christie vetoed a similar bill last march, but his advisors have since sought to work with key legislators to create a bill that satisfies the requirements of the New Jersey casino law.
“New Jersey has shown that it is the key leader for the US gaming industry in matters of Internet and sports gambling,” Brennan said. “It seems likely the state will become the center for these new gaming industries in the years ahead.”