New Jersey Committee Approves Sports Betting: What’s Next?

Did anyone see the Superbowl?
Did anyone see the Superbowl?

If you wish for something long and enough, and really hope for it, it just might come true. It helps if what you’re wishing for will pump millions of dollars into the pockets of the people around you as New Jersey is finding out. In a 4-0 vote, the New Jersey State Senate Committee on Government, Tourism, Wagering and Historic Preservation approved a bill calling for a referendum on sports wagering. Read more.

The vote couldn’t have come at a better time for the N.J state. Atlantic City can take a breath of well, New Jersey fresh air as they may now be able to compete with the likes of Delaware and Pennsylvania in the gambling arena. Realistically speaking, it wouldn’t make dollars and sense for New Jersey to stop there. The next logical move is towards online gambling, if they truly want an edge on their competitors. Chairman Joe Brennan believes that if they’re moving sports betting, then intrastate online gaming may soon follow, Brennan also believes that internet poker will be even easier to push.

But how long are we talking here? Months? Years? Decades? Nobody seems to know the answer to those questions. While encouraging, the sports betting bill is incomplete, it still requires a constitutional amendment in the state of New Jersey and if successful it will move into a public referendum as late as November.

It’s mind boggling just how much red tape there is to getting a bill passed that will ultimately increase revenue for the state. It’s also interesting to note the opposition within the gambling industry towards the bill, as Harrah’s is currently in opposition of the bill, electing for a federal solution. The situation is not unlike what happened in Quebec Canada, where legalization of Loto Quebec has sparked a virtual gaming spitfire between the already established Kahnawake Gaming Commission and the Quebec government.
It is becoming more and more evident that legalizing and regulating online gambling and even all inclusive gambling in general in many areas is an extremely complicated issue. While it appears clear and straightforward on the outside, it is quite the opposite. There are those entities that enjoy the freedom of legalization and oppose regulation as in California, and there are those who are pushing for the former and face opposition both the government and other gaming entities.

The bottom line is there is money to be made and money to be lost. The fact that gives hope to supporters of regulation and legalization is that the money to be made will be made by the government and they just happen to be the ones who ultimately decide the outcome of the matter. The inconvenient truth is that we may be years away from that outcome.