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(TRENTON) ? Assembly members Matthew W. Milam, Nelson Albano, Ralph R. Caputo, Connie Wagner and Ruben J. Ramos, Jr. Tuesday thanked voters for green-lighting a constitutional amendment that will allow the Legislature, when permitted by federal law, to legalize sports betting in New Jersey.

Currently, federal law only permits this type of betting in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. The constitutional amendment (ACR-167) approved by voters yesterday positions New Jersey to implement sports gaming at Atlantic City casinos and horse racing tracks in the state, if and when the federal law is overturned.

Under the proposal, bets could be placed at a casino or racetrack site on the results of professional, college or amateur sport or athletic events, except on college games that take place in New Jersey or in which a New Jersey college team participates.

?This is a great first step for legal sports wagering in New Jersey,? said Milam (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). ?With this amendment in place, we can now concentrate on lifting the federal ban so that Atlantic City and the state as a whole can reap the economic benefits of a gaming practice that reportedly generates billions illegally annually.?

?Illegal internet gambling sites and bookies are profiting mightily from illegal sports betting as we speak,? said Albano (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland). ?Legalizing the gaming practice in New Jersey would produce additional tax revenue for the state, and set Atlantic City apart from competing casinos in neighboring states. With this vote, we are on our way.?

?Without slot machines, racetracks in New Jersey are finding it very hard to keep up with the competition in other states. Legalized sports betting in New Jersey would give our racetracks a competitive edge,? said Caputo (D-Essex). ?Having this gaming option would help draw more visitors, which would afford the tracks and surrounding amenities a much needed financial boost.?

?Our racetracks are fighting an unfair fight against the competition,? said Ramos (D-Hudson). ?Sports betting is a billion dollar industry, and only four states are allowed by federal law to benefit from legal sports wagering. This is a first step towards adding New Jersey to that list, generating tax dollars, creating jobs and breathing new life into our racetracks.?

?The voters have delivered a win not only for Atlantic City casinos, but our racetracks which are struggling to stay afloat,? said Wagner (D-Bergen). ?Now that voters have made legal sports betting in New Jersey possible, we can start working on turning that vote into actual law so that these type of attractions can benefit from new audiences, and residents from new jobs created.”