New Jersey State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, one of the sponsors of New Jersey’s referendum that approved gambling, now plans to go to the New Jersey Senate to show how wagering can help cure the state’s financial ills.
New Jersey will probably wait to meet the Justice Department until next year, after the state attorney general files in federal district court to try to overturn the U.S. ban on sports betting.
According to the Huffington Post, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act from 1992 prohibits wagering on games in all but four states: Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. 37 states currently have casinos.
The UCLA Gambling Studies Program says Americans bet $100 billion each year on sports, and Lesniak says a lot of that goes to illegal Internet sites and organized crime when the state could be seeing revenue. Several states will be paying attention to the results of New Jersey’s campaign to try to legally increase their own funds.
Delaware returned to sports wagering on football in 2009, according to the Baltimore Sun. Sports betting numbers at racinos at Delaware Park, Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway came to around $13 million for the 2010 NFL season, up $2 million from 2009.
Those against reinstating sports gambling point to the potential addiction problem. Sam Skolnik, author of "High Stakes: The Rising Cost of America's Gambling Addiction," said, according to Daily Finance, in 2007, Americans lost more than $92 billion gambling, nearly nine times the amount they lost in 1982. In 2005, he said around 73 million Americans visited one of the country's 1,200 casinos, card rooms or bingo parlors - 20 million more than in 2000.
Gambling supporters say it is taking place anyway, so it might as well be legal.