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NCAA Doles Out Payback For NJ’s Efforts To Legalize Sports Betting

The NCAA is pulling five national and regional championship tournaments scheduled to be held in New Jersey in 2013. It’s payback for the state’s decision to move forward with voter-approved sports betting. The Garden State’s most vocal proponent of legalized sports wagering says, once again the NCAA has gotten it all wrong.

The NCAA says it cannot host games in states where gambling is allowed on them.

New Jersey hopes to license sports betting by early next year. The NCAA is also joining forces with major professional sports leagues in a lawsuit seeking to block sports betting in New Jersey.

“The NCAA continually ignores the billions of dollars wagered illegally every year,” says State Senator Ray Lesniak. “In New Jersey we’re moving that betting from the backrooms where organized crime controls the books to out in the open, where it can be carefully regulated and monitored. The NCAA and the professional leagues can yell all they want about ‘the integrity of sports,’ but until they embrace policies to wipe out the illegal books, those are just words.”

Lesniak also thinks the NCAA is painting itself into a corner. He explains, “When the federal ban on sports betting is declared unconstitutional, other states will undoubtedly follow New Jersey’s lead. Then, the only place the NCAA will be able to have its championships played will be Utah.”

New Jersey’s lawsuit to overturn the federal ban on sports betting is still in what Lesniak calls, “The lawyering stage.”

The tournaments that are being relocated are not what a gambler would typically call marquee events. They are; Division I Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, Diving Regionals (Piscataway, March 14-17), Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, Trenton Regional (Trenton, March 30-April 2), Division III Men’s Volleyball Championship (Hoboken, April 26-28) and the Division II and III Women’s Lacrosse Championships (Montclair, May 18-19).

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