By: Adam Blaier (New-Media-Editor, ’16)
It’s hard to imagine Atlantic City, NJ fully recovering from hurricane Sandy. The boardwalk was destroyed, and the casinos have been running dry. The Revel Casino, which cost $2.4 billion to build, just recently sold for $110 million. There seems to be little the state can do to help. Oh wait, except for allowing a multi-billion dollar sports gambling industry to thrive again.
Gov. Christie has signed a new sports betting bill into law. The bill will allow casinos and racetracks to have sports betting in NJ, as long as the NJ government doesn’t regulate it. Sports betting was illegal for a while in NJ because of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, signed in 1992, which made it illegal for a governmental entity to regulate the sports gambling industry, for amateur (NCAA) or professional (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, etc..) leagues. The leagues and NCAA won an injunction against NJ’s bill that was proposed over a year ago. The new S-2460 bill closely tiptoes around the federal law, and partially repeals state prohibitions, requirements for permits and licenses, and authorizations for sports gambling. The Monmouth Park horse race track will began taking bets on October 26th.
I believe sports’ gambling is one of the few things the NJ Government can do to save Atlantic City, and restore the “Boardwalk Empire”. Some people like to gamble and should be allowed to do so. They believe it brings more excitement to the games. Why shouldn’t gambling involve sports betting since, according to some, it makes the game more intense? Advocates would argue that sports betting could bring revenue from people who live out of state. Atlantic City is conveniently located within 2.5 hours of NYC, Philly, and Baltimore.
As I type this (10/20/14), I got a notification from my ESPN app, letting me know that the NFL and other leagues plan to move for an injunction against this bill. The leagues will have to prove that immediate & irreparable harm will happen as a result of the betting at the Monmouth Park track this weekend. Opponents of the bill, not involved in the lawsuit, would argue that gambling is immoral and that it leads to gambling addiction, among other moral, policy, and social justice arguments.
What do you think about this NJ bill? Good for sports, or bad for #Sportsbiz?
A U.S. District judge in NJ has granted a restraining order for the leagues. As discussed, the leagues needed to show there would be irreparable harm, if betting was allowed this weekend, at the Monmouth track. They succeeded, and halted betting this past weekend. The legal battle continues for NJ.
Bob Jordan & Steve Edelson, Gov. Christie Signs New Jersey Sports Betting Bill into Law, USA Today (October 17, 2014, 6:40 pm).
Mike Wilkening, Christie signs bill allowing sports betting in New Jersey, Pro Football Talk (October 17th, 2014)
2014 N.J. Laws A3711. http://legiscan.com/NJ/text/A3711/id/1045970
28 USC Ch. 178: PROFESSIONAL AND AMATEUR SPORTS PROTECTION http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title28/part6/chapter178&edition=prelim
Mike Wilkening, Federal judge rules for NFL, other leagues in N.J. sports betting case, Pro Football Talk (March 1, 2013)
Charles Bagli, Revel Casino in Atlantic City is sold to Real Estate Company, NYT (OCT. 1, 2014)
David Purdum, NCAA, NFL seek to stop N.J. betting, ESPN, (October 20, 2014, 4:20 PM)
David Purdum, Gambling Blocked at Monmouth Park, ESPN, (Oct. 24th, 2014)