New Jersey Assembly Approves Sportsbetting Bill

73 to 4 vote follows an overwhelmingly positive Senate vote last week

The New Jersey House of Assembly has followed the state Senate in voting overwhelmingly in favour of legislation allowing operator-regulated sports betting in the latest attempt by the state legislature to get an intrastate sportsbetting bill on the books.

Bill AB3711 has been referred to Gov. Chris Christie following the 73 to 4 vote of approval in a reprise of a previous attempt which is currently the subject of litigation with national sports leagues and the Department of Justice, who are defending the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Bill, which restricts sports betting to just 4 US states.

Gov. Christie, who has not yet commented on the new bill, now has 45 days to sign it into state law or exercise his gubernatorial privilege to veto the measure.

Christie supported the previous bill, triggering a protracted and expensive legal wrangle with the sports leagues; he is currently seeking "clarification" on the negative ruling of Judge Michael Shipp, who originally heard the case.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo told local reporters: "This issue has been before us on a number of occasions. But at this point we're here supporting the legal position that the [New Jersey] administration has taken.''

AB3711 partially repeals the state's prohibitions on sports betting, paving the way for New Jersey casinos and racetracks to begin taking wagers.

A hearing has been scheduled for November 21 in which Christie's request for clarification on the Shipp injunction against the state's sports betting legalisation attempt will be argued.

Opinions from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on the injunction will be studied; the court found that the PASPA did not prevent New Jersey from repealing the ban on sports betting, and the Department of Justice argued that PASPA does not compel New Jersey to enforce the PASPA ban.

The sports leagues are maintaining their unrelenting opposition to New Jersey's moves; a NCAA spokesman told ESPN:

"The NCAA has asked the United States District Court to stop the state of New Jersey from allowing sports wagering to occur in casinos and racetracks across the state in violation of the injunction issued last year. The NCAA continues to believe that the spread of legalized sports wagering is a threat to student-athlete well-being and the integrity of athletic competition."

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