Sports Betting In New Jersey And Beyond? Legislation Appears In US Congress

[toc]Two representatives from New Jersey are trying to help the push for legal sports betting in the US as the Super Bowl approaches.

New Jersey, of course, has been the focal point of the battle to have sports wagering outside of Nevada. A federal law — PASPA — prohibits sports wagering around the country. Despite that, billions of dollars will be wagered on illegal sports betting sites on this Sunday’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots.

The sports betting bills at a glance

Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Frank Pallone Jr. introduced their legislation earlier this week. They actually brought forth two different bills:

  • The NJ BET Act would allow New Jersey to legalize sports betting
  •  The Sports Gaming Opportunity Act gives states a chance to legalize sports betting during a four-year window.

These bills from Pallone and LoBiondo have actually been introduced in the past. However, they haven’t gotten past the phase of getting introduced, not even warranting a committee hearing.

New Jersey wants sports betting, badly

Pallone’s bill — the NJ BET Act — is the one that New Jersey really wants to see move forward. New Jersey, for years, has tried to enact a law to legalize sports betting. The state hopes to help Atlantic City casinos and NJ racetracks by allowing them to take sports wagers.

So far, however, NJ has been prevented from doing so. The state remains locked in a legal battle against the NCAA and the major professional sports leagues — the NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball.

The state is appealing the latest in a string of losses to the US Supreme Court. A recent request to hear the opinion of the US Solicitor General has seemingly improved the case’s chances of being accepted by SCOTUS.

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Other states and sports betting?

The other bill, which is sponsored by LoBiondo, would give other states a chance to legalize sports betting.

Many states would likely jump at the chance to have legal sports betting, including Pennsylvania, New York and Mississippi, at a minimum. NY is considering a challenge much like New Jersey’s. Michigan recently introduced a bill that would allow single-game wagering.

Many of the states that currently have commercial or tribal casinos would likely authorize sports betting, given the chance.

About the Author

Dustin Gouker

Aside from his role as editor at, Dustin Gouker writes extensively about the legal online gaming and US online poker industries, having played poker recreationally for his entire adult life. He has also covered sports for The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner, among others.