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Shore Congressmen Introduce Bills for Sports Betting [AUDIO]

As the major sports leagues and New Jersey spar in front of a federal appeals judge over the legality of sports betting in the state, two shore congressmen are pushing for similar legislation meant to get sports betting legalized in New Jersey on a federal level.

Sports Betting in NJ
Flickr User Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

Congressmen Frank Pallone (D) and Frank LoBiondo (R) both took to the Atlantic City boardwalk Wednesday to discuss two similar pieces of legislation they introduced meant at getting sports betting into the state.

Pallone’s bill would only give New Jersey the right to bet on sports, however LoBiondo’s legislation lets any state pass it, provided they go through the required channels – a la New Jersey. The ultimate goal of both pieces of legislation is to get sports betting in the state, so both representatives have endorsed each other’s bills.

But, LoBiondo points out their bills won’t be easy solutions.

“This legislation has a number of obstacles, not the least is which is Harry Reid. Because Las Vegas has [sports betting], Harry Reid has signaled that he will not support or favor this. We will have to figure out a way around it.”

Pallone notes with his legislation, it will take a great deal of time and effort convincing individual representatives to support a bill that only favors New Jersey.

The case for sports betting in New Jersey currently sits before a Third Circuit Court of Appeals, after a U.S. District Court judge upheld arguments against expanding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), which limits sports betting to Nevada and three other states (in lesser capacities).

LoBiondo points out that while sports betting won’t be the panacea to Atlantic City’s woes, it can provide an additional vibrant and profitable revenue stream.

“So it’s not just the sports betting itself, it’s the people coming into Atlantic City,” LoBiondo said. “It’s the people staying at the casinos and at the hotels, the people at restaurants, and all of the other venues.”

The major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sued the state last summer after a referendum made sports betting legal in the state, claiming that making sports betting legal in another state would hurt professional and collegiate sports.

LoBiondo believes sports betting is already being done illegally by millions across the country, whether or not a law is put into place.

“Whether you have an office pool, or you have the real hardcore illegal stuff going on, whether it’s the Super Bowl or just Sunday NFL games, whatever it is, it’s going on now.”

Adding concerns over improprieties would be better addressed if the leagues had a legal avenue to track the numbers.

“And those leagues that have questions about this would want to make sure that it’s done right, and if there were any illegal activities we could detect it with technology. And right now we know nothing.”

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