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Suit filed in New Jersey to gain sports betting

March 24, 2009

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The Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey has joined a group headed by New Jersey State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak which filed suit in federal district court on Monday morning to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PAPSA) and open the door to legal sports wagering in the state.

Party to the suit, in addition to the SBOANJ and Senator Lesniak (D-Union), are Interactive Media Entertainment & Gaming Inc., the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen Inc., and Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey.

Lesniak and Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic) both attended the State House press conference to announce the first step to legalize sports wagering. 

“This federal law deprives the State of New Jersey of over $100 million of yearly revenues, as well as depriving our casinos, racetracks and internet operators of over $500 million of gross income,” said Lesniak, whose law firm, Weiner Lesniak LLP of Parsippany filed the suit in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, pro bono.  “Rather than supporting thousands of jobs, economic activity and tourism, the federal ban supports offshore operators and organized crime.


“Our casinos are suffering, our racetracks are dying and our State budget needs revenues,” Lesniak noted.  “Today we take the first step to undoing the injustice of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, healing our casinos, saving the lives of our racetracks, adding revenues to our State budget, and preserving and creating thousands of jobs.”


“On behalf of the SBOANJ, I want to thank Senators Lesniak and Van Drew for championing a cause that can help with the economic stability of horse racing and help to preserve open space,” said SBOANJ president Tom Luchento, who represented the Standardbred horsemen at the announcement. 


“We believe that New Jersey should have the rights of other states to decide if we want sports betting,” he added.


When the PAPSA legislation passed in 1992, four states were omitted from the restrictions–Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana.


One of the challenges to the constitutionality of the law is that it denies 46 states, including New Jersey, of the right to benefit from the flow of taxation that would derive from legalized sports betting.


New Jersey proposes to restrict the sports wagering to its casinos, racetracks and intra-state on the Internet. (SBOANJ)


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