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January 28, 2008

TRENTON, NJ - A group of New jersey legislators are leading a new bid to legalize sports betting in Atlantic City casinos. The effort follows the first decline in gambling revenues since Atlantic City casinos opened in 1978. Revenues were $4.9 billion in 2007 down 6% from $5.2 billion in 2006.

One of the bill's sponsors, Assemblyman Nelson Albano (D-1st), issued a press release January 24th stating "There are multiple dividends for New Jersey if sports gambling were to be provided at Atlantic City casinos. With the Super Bowl ten days away, Atlantic City casinos are again losing out as betters flock to Las Vegas. We need to ensure Atlantic City stays on the cutting edge and has a competitive advantage against the new wave of gambling offerings in other states."

Assemblyman John Burzichelli has said "Sports betting already exists in New Jersey, but only the criminals are enjoying the profits. Legal, carefully regulated sports wagering would bolster both Atlantic City and the state. New Jersey should go all-in."

Illegal sports gambling is estimated to range from $80 billion to $380 billion per year in the U.S. Proponents of legalized sports gambling estimate the state revenues would be up to $8 million annually.

But the NFL opposes the idea. "It's bad policy because it turns human players into roulette chips with the sanction of the state," said NFL attorney David H. Remes.

The bill is out of committee and will now head to Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-5th), who will decide if and when to send it to the floor for a vote.

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