On Monday, the New Jersey State Senate Committee on Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation, approved a bill sponsored by Raymond Lesniak, calling for a referendum on sports wagering. The bill passed by a 4 – 0 margin. Can intrastate internet gambling be far behind?
Lesniak, citing figures from the Press of Atlantic City, stated: “legalized sports betting would raise $100 million in new state revenues and generate $500 million for the casinos and racetracks.”
Joe Brennan, Chairman of iMEGA (Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association), stated that he expected legalized intrastate online gaming to be next. He states that there should be much less resistance to internet gambling with the passage of sports betting. Raymond Lesniak has also introduced a bill to allow internet gambling. Sports betting is still not a sure thing in New Jersey yet. It requires a constitutional amendment in order to become legal. Brennan states that it still has a long way to go.
Sports wagering could be on the ballot in New Jersey in November for a public referendum. Another hurdle could be the Senate Budget Committee. Since legalized sports betting would impact the budget, the Budget committee may want to take a look at it. But Brennan doesn’t think they will do that until after the referendum.
In the meantime, Barney Frank (D-MA) has a bill on Capitol Hill which aims to legalize and regulate internet gambling in the United States. The bill now has 65 co-sponsors.