Sports Betting Bill Draft Released by New Jersey Congressman

Published on May 25, 2017

The draft of a new sports betting bill was released on Thursday by a New Jersey congressman. This comes just a day after the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office essentially said it’s time for everyone to move on and forget about changing the laws.

 New Jersey sports betting

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) wants legalized New Jersey sports betting, so he proposed a bill in the U.S. Congress to overturn a federal ban. (Image: Politico)

The Washington Post first reported on Wednesday that acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote that a case to overturn the near-total federal ban on sports betting doesn’t deserve consideration from the Supreme Court.

In his letter, Wall stated New Jersey hadn’t raised valid constitutional problems with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992. The law prevents sports betting outside Nevada and a few other states.

Nevada is currently the only state with true legal sports betting. But more than $400 billion is wagered on sporting events each year in the United States. Gamblers often get action on games illegally through online sportsbooks or bookies.

The Backstory

In 2014, governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill to legalize sports betting in New Jersey. Racetracks and casinos in Atlantic City were all set to take wagers just days after the signing.

“As I’ve said all along, I am a strong proponent of legalized sports wagering in New Jersey,” the former governor said in a statement at the time. “But given earlier decisions by federal courts, it was critical that we follow a correct and appropriate path to curtail new court challenges and expensive litigation. I believe we have found that path in this bipartisan legislative effort.”

But after the four major U.S. professional sports leagues and the NCAA requested the law to be halted, a federal judge granted their wish. U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp put a temporary stop to Christie’s signed bill.

That eventually became permanent. No New Jersey casino been allowed to accept sports wagers in the three years since.

“Never Gonna Give You Up, Never Gonna Let You Down”

Rick Astley would be proud of New Jersey’s never-quit mentality when it comes to sports betting. On Thursday, Democrat Congressman Frank Pallone, from the Garden State, released the draft of a bill that would allow states the right to legalize sports betting.

The Gaming Accountability and Modernization Act (GAME) would repeal the PAPSA legislation from 1992 that banned sports betting in most states. If the bill passes, the sports betting law would be passed on to each state.

Pallone, a ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, understands that sports betting will continue to occur even if legislation isn’t passed.

“Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” he said in a news release.  “It’s time to recognize that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernize them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”

The GAME Act is only in its infancy stage. No vote has taken place. The draft release was done to get some feedback from fellow lawmakers.