NJ congressman advocates for sports betting legislation

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Nov. 25, 2017

Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey reaffirmed his commitment to federal legislation that would states to legalize and regulate sports betting and online gambling.

Pallone spoke during a Nov. 21 press conference at Monmouth Park, which has strongly advocated for sports betting in a case that has gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which leases and operates Monmouth, has submitted a Supreme Court brief in a case for which oral arguments will be heard Dec. 4.

The high court will hear arguments in Christie versus the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which focuses on the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which bans sports betting with the exception of four grandfathered states. Pallone filed an amicus brief in support of New Jersey’s challenges to PASPA.

The Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, introduced by Pallone, would remove the federal obstacles to legalized gambling at the state level but doesn’t create a mechanism for regulation by the federal government. States would continue to have the right to legalize and regulate any form of gambling.

The GAME calls for basic consumer protections, including mechanisms for age and location verification; safeguards to protect privacy and data security of players; and recourse mechanisms for consumers.

Darby Development, which operates Monmouth on behalf of the NJTHA, has said it’s ready to implement sports betting as soon as possible. There are plans to expand to the existing William Hill sports book at the Monmouth County racetrack. Track officials have said sports betting at Monmouth alone could generate about $1 million a week in revenue.

“This is an issue of fairness,” Pallone said. “New Jersey, and every other state for that matter, should have the same opportunity to proceed with sports betting and online gaming that has been allowed in some states. The citizens of New Jersey overwhelmingly support legalized sports betting and acted in a referendum to show that support. Both Congress and the Supreme Court should respect these actions and allow places like Monmouth Park to take part in sports betting.”

In 2011 New Jersey residents supported a statewide referendum to amend the state constitution to authorize legislation allowing sports gambling. The state legislature subsequently enacted a bill that would allow sports betting at casinos in Atlantic City and at the state’s racetracks.

(Left to right: Oceanport, N.J., Mayor Jay Coffey; Congressman Frank Pallone; Dennis Drazin, adviser to Darby Development; and William Pascrelli of Princeton Public Affairs affairs in photo by Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)