Lesniak Floor Remarks On Sports Wagering Constitutional Amendment

Measure Would Position New Jersey to Establish Sports Betting When Federal Ban is Overturned

TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the sponsor of a constitutional amendment which would allow New Jersey to establish sports wagering as soon as the federal government’s ban is lifted, issued the following remarks on the floor prior to the Senate’s approval of the bill today by a vote of 36-3:

“SCR-132 would amend the New Jersey Constitution, if approved by the voters next November, to allow sports betting at our casinos and racetracks and former racetracks. Betting on New Jersey amateur teams or on any amateur sporting event in New Jersey would not be allowed.

“I have filed a lawsuit in federal district court to overturn the federal ban on sports betting (PAPSA). Constitutional Law authorities at George Washington, Vanderbilt, Willamette and Whittier Law Schools agree that the federal ban violates the 5th, 10th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution and its Commerce Clause. Even the Justice Department had doubts on the legality of the sports betting ban and expressed its concern in a letter to then Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Joe Biden in 1992 when PAPSA was enacted into law.

“Club CalNeva, a Las Vegas based company which operates over 30 sports books and handles billions of dollars of bets estimates that sports betting will bring in $1.3 billion in gross wagering revenues and $120 million in tax revenues for New Jersey. That’s $1.3 billion of gross profits for our casinos and racetracks, creating and preserving thousands of jobs and attracting tourists to Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore in Monmouth and Ocean County.

“That’s a lot of jobs, a lot of profits for New Jersey businesses, and a lot of revenue for the state.

“I urge you to support SCR-132.”

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