New Jersey Senator Vows to Have Sports Betting in State

With a decision imminent on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will hear New Jersey’s challenge to overturn a federal ban on sports betting, New Jersey state Senator Raymond Lesniak—the state’s most vocal proponent for sports betting—said at least one state racetrack—Monmouth Park (l.)—will have sports betting in place by September if the court denies the case.

New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak said he will move to install sports betting in the state quickly if the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear New Jersey’s challenge to a federal ban on sports betting.

The court could announce this week whether it will hear the state’s challenge, but even if it doesn’t, Lesniak said he will go ahead with sports betting legislation and expects to see sports betting in time for the NFL season.

“Legislation is already drafted, ready to be dropped,” Lesniak told the Press of Atlantic City. “I would place a bet on the Giants to cover the spread over the Lions.” 

This would be the first sports bet legally placed in the state of New Jersey, at least under the laws of the state of New Jersey.

Lesniak told New York radio team Boomer & Carton on WFAN that he has a commitment from one betting site to jump in immediately. 

“I would be more than willing to do it at one of Atlantic City’s casinos as well, but they haven’t indicated that they would be willing to take on that challenge yet, but Monmouth race track has,” he said.

The national companies that own the Atlantic City casinos would likely be reticent about participating in a type of betting that might be frowned upon by the federal government. 

Lesniak has said that interpretations of the federal ban enacted in 1992 that came out during the state’s court challenge of the law say that the ban simply keeps the state from regulating sports betting and does not mean unregulated sports betting can’t be approved by the state.

Legal analysts, however, expect the U.S. Department of Justice would work quickly to try and keep the state from defying the ban.