Congressmen vow to continue fight for sports betting in N.J.

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Congressmen Frank LoBiondo, D-1, and Frank Pallone Jr., D-6, faulted a U.S. District Court decision Friday that prohibits New Jersey from moving forward with sports betting.

Siding with the NCAA and the U.S. Justice Department, U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp on Thursday upheld the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, ruling that the federal ban on sports gambling is constitutional and supersedes a New Jersey state law signed last year that legalizes sports betting at casinos and horseracing tracks.

“The District Court’s decision to stop New Jersey from moving forward with legalized sports betting is unfortunate and disappointing,” the legislators said in a news release.  “We continue to believe that New Jersey should be given the same opportunity that other states have already been given with regards to gaming in their states and that the federal government should not stand in the way.”

The congressmen continue to maintain that legalizing sports betting would be beneficial to New Jersey’s economy and help crack down on criminal enterprises. 

“This is not the end of the road, and we look forward to the state’s appeal to the higher court. We will also continue to lead the charge for congressional action to allow sports betting in New Jersey through legislation we have introduced,” they said in the statement.

LoBiondo and Pallone have introduced two bills in the 113th Congress that that would provide for changes in the law that would allow sports gaming in New Jersey. Pallone’s bill, H.R. 626, would exempt New Jersey from current federal law, and LoBiondo’s, H.R. 625, opens a window in which all states could enact a law providing for sports gambling in their state until Jan. 1, 2017. Both lawmakers are co-sponsoring the other’s legislation.

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