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New Jersey enacted a sports betting law in January 2012, limiting bets to the Atlantic City casinos and the state's four horse-racing tracks. It is seen by supporters as a way to bring new revenue to the struggling casino and racing industries and to reclaim a portion of the billions of untaxed dollars flowing to organized crime or offshore gambling operations.
In May, Gov. Chris Christie said New Jersey would forge ahead with its sports betting law despite the federal ban on it here. The governor said he expected to be sued over the plan, and proponents of the state's plan to offer sports betting say a court battle could offer a shortcut to legalizing such bets in New Jersey rather than relying on a polarized Congress to repeal the federal ban.
New Jersey says about $380 billion a year is wagered illegally on sporting events and argues in its court filings that such gambling has not and will not damage the integrity of the major sports leagues, as the leagues have claimed.
The leagues also note that although New Jersey claims there would be no harm from allowing gambling on college games, New Jersey's plan would prohibit betting on games involving New Jersey college teams or teams from other states that are played in New Jersey.
The federal law at the heart of the dispute, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, carved out special exemptions for Nevada and three other states that had legalized sports betting before a 1991 deadline -- Delaware, Oregon and Montana.
Sports betting is just one of several new gambling options New Jersey is seeking to offer as the 12 Atlantic City casinos continue to struggle with fierce and ever-growing competition from casinos in neighboring states. New Jersey also is moving toward allowing in-state Internet gambling, though Christie has expressed reservations about its legality and has already vetoed one such bill.
The state is allowing the use of hand-held mobile gambling devices at the casinos and is moving quickly toward granting the same permission at horse tracks.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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