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Governor Christie Expected To Sign New Jersey Sports Gambling Bill

Lawmakers in the state of New Jersey have been on a roll when it comes to gambling expansion over the past year. First, legislators passed a bill legalizing online casinos early in 2011, and although the bill was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie, it opened the door for more expansion of the gaming industry.

This year, Senator Raymond Lesniak has already been active in pushing through more gambling legislation. A bill passed by lawmakers on Monday allows for legalized sports betting. Sports books in Atlantic City casinos is expected to sure up an industry that has been struggling for years. Unlike the online gambling bill, Governor Christie is expected to sign the sports betting legislation.

The battle has only just begun for Lesniak and other New Jersey lawmakers in favor of sports betting. In order to move forward with sports books, the state will have to prove in a federal court that the 1992 law that bans sports betting in many states, is unconstitutional, and should be overturned. Lesniak believes that he has precedent in his favor in the battle to have the federal law overturned.

New Jersey is not stopping with sports betting. The Department of Justice's opinion late last year essentially allows states to regulate online casinos. The opinion reversed a previously held belief that all forms of Internet gambling were illegal under the 1961 Wire Act. Governor Christie has conceded that he is open to online gambling if all of his concerns over last year's bill are addressed in any new legislation.

New Jersey is intent on not falling behind Nevada in the race for regulated online gambling. The first couple of states that open online casinos will have an advantage over states coming later. Additionally, the first few states to regulate the activity will be in a position to create revenue sharing deals, much like what takes place with the Powerball lottery.

The sports betting bill passed Monday allows for gambling on college and pro games. The sports books would be authorized for Atlantic City, and at state race tracks. The addition of sports books has analysts believing they could save an ailing racing industry in New Jersey. Lesniak has been pushing for sports gambling for several years.

Atlantic City casinos have been hurt in recent years by competition from neighboring states in the Northeast. The economic recession of 2008 took many customers out of AC casinos, and when the economy started to improve, suddenly these gamblers had options in states such as Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Maine, New Hampshire, and Delaware.

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