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Lesniak Sports Betting Constitutional Amendment Receives Committee Approval

New Measure Would Enable Betting at Casinos and Current and Former Racetracks

TRENTON – Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, issued the following statement today urging his colleagues to support SCR-132, his constitutional amendment which would legalize sports wagering in New Jersey. The bill was approved by the Senate Economic Growth Committee today by a vote of 6-1:

“SCR-132 will amend the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, if approved by the voters, to authorize the legislature to enact laws allowing sports betting at Atlantic City’s casinos and current and former horserace tracks. Betting on out-of-state amateur games involving any New Jersey teams, or on any amateur games played in the state will not be allowed.

“I have filed a lawsuit in federal district court to overturn the ban on sports betting which gives an unfair and unconstitutional advantage to Nevada and Delaware at the expense of New Jersey and other states. Constitutional Law authorities at George Washington, Vanderbilt, Willamette and Whittier Law Schools agree that the federal law (PAPSA) violates the 5th, 10th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution and its Commerce Clause. Even the United States Justice Department, in a letter to then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Joseph Biden questioned its constitutional validity.

“The benefits to New Jersey from sports betting can best be summed up by the following statements:

“Dover Downs Hotel and Casino CEO Ed Sutor, ‘The first couple of weeks we saw a 100-percent improvement in revenues. We’re happy with sports betting and hope it continues.’

“My friend, Ed Palmeri, ‘At Delaware Pk Sports Book on way to Eagles game. Oh boy- NJ missing out. You gotta get it in NJ. Packed house 10am Sunday.’

“A report by Club Cal Neva, a Nevada based gaming company with 48 years experience in gaming that operates 30 sports books throughout Nevada projected that New Jersey would gain $220 million per year in revenues from sports betting. That’s worth the fight.

“I urge your support for SCR-132.”

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