Should sports betting be legal in the Garden State?

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Attorneys representing New Jersey told a federal judge the law banning legal betting, in all but four other states, is discriminatory and tramples on the authority of state legislatures.

Attorneys representing the federal government, the NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA and Major League Baseball insist the ban is reasonable, rational and constitutional.

State Senator Ray Lesniak, who's been spearheading efforts to legalize sports betting in Jersey for years, says allowing sports betting in Vegas but not in Jersey means, "We're losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars. In Nevada, Final Four weekend, Superbowl week, you cannot get a room, while Atlantic City is a ghost town.

He says, "Why should the state of Nevada, and Las Vegas have that economic advantage, given by Congress, over the state of New Jersey? That kind of dispirit treatment just cannot be allowed under our Constitution."

As far as what will happen in the courts, Lesniak says, "We all hope that the judge will apply common sense, and recognize the fact that tourists flock to Nevada, and Las Vegas, particularly during big sporting events…I hope and expect that he's going to say the federal ban is not constitutional and let the games begin - let New Jersey benefit - Atlantic City and our racetracks - from the tourism and revenue that's now going off-shore to organized crime or to the state of Nevada."

He adds, if the argument put forth by the professional sports leagues and the NCAA is true, that allowing betting would hurt the integrity of the different sports?

"Then why is the NFL playing - now two games every year - at Wembley stadium where people are betting right across the street from the stadium? The NBA has had an All-Star Game in Las Vegas, so they're talking out of both sides of their mouth."

The judge is expected to issue a ruling in the next several weeks.