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NJ Sports Betting Lawsuit Ruling Expected Soon [AUDIO]

The NFL season is in full swing and the World Series is right around the corner, but New Jerseyans who want to place sports bets still can’t do it legally in the Garden State. The state is waging a battle in the courts seeking to legalize sports betting in Atlantic City’s casinos and at racetracks. A decision is expected soon.

Sports Betting
Flickr User Tjschoss

“We expect a court decision any day in the court of appeals,” said Sen. Ray Lesniak, the prime sponsor of legislation legalizing sports wagering in New Jersey. “I expect an affirmative decision.”

Last year, a number of professional and college sports organizations filed suit in federal court to overturn New Jersey’s sports wagering law. Lesniak said at the time he believed the court would not attempt to interfere with New Jersey’s sports book operations until after deciding the case on its merits.

In February, a federal judge denied the state the right to allow sports betting.

The bill Lesniak sponsored and Gov. Chris Christie signed in January of last year, allows for casinos, racetracks and joint partnerships between casinos, racetracks and/or third parties to operate sports wagering pools at the state’s casinos or racetracks. The federal ban remains in place, and sports betting is still illegal in the Garden State.

“New Jerseyans would certainly like to place their bets, but instead of going to organized crime or off-shore Internet rings, they could go to New jersey’s casinos and horse racing industries and create jobs here,” said Lesniak. “New Jersey could reap billions of dollars in revenues and the jobs that will be created and the revival of Atlantic City.”

If the court rules in favor of legalizing sports betting and the major sports leagues appeal, Lesniak hopes an agreement could be reached through negotiations that would make everybody happy. If the appeal goes to the Supreme Court, Lesniak expects to play a major role.

“If it ultimately gets heard before the Supreme Court I’ve already spoken to Sen. President Steve Sweeney (and) I intend to argue it on our behalf,” said Lesniak.

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