In the only statewide question on New Jersey’s election ballot, voters approved a referendum to legalize sports betting at the Atlantic City casinos and the state's horse-racing tracks by about a 2 to 1 margin.
Unofficial final balloting showed the question was accepted by 66 percent of the voters, while 34 percent were against it.
The proposed constitutional amendment will only be legal if New Jersey can repeal a federal ban on wagering in 46 states. The Asbury Park Press reports that only Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana were grandfathered under current legislation.
According to the Press of Atlantic City, Senator Raymond Lesniak, D-Union. plans to introduce legislation as soon as Thursday to get things started. If the measure passes, betting would be allowed on professional and collegiate sports, except for athletic events in New Jersey or games featuring state colleges. Lesniak had sued to overturn the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in March, but his case was dismissed.
The Chicago Tribune reports that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie supports sports betting, saying, “People all over the country are betting on sports illegally and it's time to let the state benefit from the money it generates.”
Supporters of the measure are saying that legalized sports betting can potentially add $225 million in new revenue into the casinos and racetracks and aid tourism.
But a gambling counselor with clients in New Jersey feels legalizing expanded betting can create problems. C.P. Mirarchi told philly.com, "This will just make it more accessible for those who are predisposed to gamble, who normally would not call a bookie."