New Jerseycloser to legal books

Jan 18, 2005 6:26 AM

By Ron Fortune

New Jersey last week drew one step closer to legalizing sports betting. A measure that would put the issue in front of voters cleared the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee by an 8-1 vote.

If approved by the state legislature, the referendum, that would legalize betting on professional sports would go before New Jersey voters.

Even if approved by the electorate, New Jersey would have to successfully challenge a federal, interstate commerce law that prohibits sports betting.

Supporters of the measure believe the federal law can be overturned, based on states’ rights to regulate gambling within its borders.

"There are multiple dividends for New Jersey if sports gambling were to be provided at Atlantic City casinos," said Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, sponsor of the bill. "We need to ensure that Atlantic City stays on the cutting edge and has a competitive advantage against the new wave of gambling offerings in other states."