Bill Would Codify Constitutional Change Approved by Voters in November
(TRENTON) — Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee Chairman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester) issued a multimedia package Friday on his legislation to allow licensed casinos in Atlantic City and racetracks in New Jersey to conduct wagering on professional and collegiate sport or athletic events, in the event a federal law is overturned.
The bill (A-4385) comes after voters in the November election approved amending the New Jersey Constitution to allow sports betting in the state, if a federal law banning it is overturned.
Under Burzichelli’s bill, the state Casino Control Commission is authorized to grant licenses to operate a sports pool, and the state Division of Gaming Enforcement would regulate those operations.
Wagering on sports events, as defined by this bill, would not include wagering on any collegiate sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey or on a sport or athletic event in which any New Jersey college team participates, regardless of where the event takes place.
Wagers on a sports event could be placed in-person in a sports wagering lounge located at a casino or racetrack, or by means of electronic devices, or by means of the Internet by residents of this sate who are physically present in the state.
Persons placing wagers must be at least 21 years of age.
The multimedia package consists of a video of Assemblyman Burzichelli discussing the merits of his legislation and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from Assemblyman Burzichelli is appended below:
Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee Chairman:
“In a statewide referendum, the people of New Jersey chose to change the constitution to allow for wagering on professional sports and certain collegiate sports, excluding any collegiate activity that takes place in the State of New Jersey.
“It was a big step. Anytime you change the constitution, it’s not something that occurs lightly. So very clearly, New Jersey people have an interest in being able to wager on professional athletic events in a legal setting.
“But we still are held hostage by a federal law that says you can’t do this. But there is going to be a legal challenge by New Jersey, saying that this is a states’ rights issue and a states’ rights commerce issue and that we do, in fact, have the right to legalize this and manage this within the boundaries of our state.
“This activity would be limited to places where gambling already occurs, in both horseracing and in a casino setting. It’ll benefit the casinos in helping them offer another dimension to consumers to engage in; helping Atlantic City continue to grow as a destination. It’ll help the racetracks in additional activity because a horse player is likely to be a sports betting person.
“The tax revenue from these will be just as the tax revenue is used from the casino tax, which means senior programs, programs for the disabled and, by the way, a small portion to gamblers… you know, anti-gambling programs.
“The people have spoken. The Constitution has been changed. They want sports betting in New Jersey. The Legislature is going to create the structure and we’re off to federal court.”