Second N.J. Congressman Seeks Legislation to Open State to Sports Betting

New Jersey congressman Frank LoBiondo said he will introduce legislation to let states seek exemptions from a federal sports-betting ban.

LoBiondo, a Republican in the House of Representatives, said his legislation would revise a 1992 federal law that allows sports betting only in Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon. States would have until 2016 to seek exemptions, LoBiondo said in a statement on his website.

The bill differs from one proposed by Representative Frank Pallone, a Democrat from Long Branch. Pallone, in a statement on his website in November, said he would amend the 1992 law to make New Jersey a betting state, too. He has scheduled a press conference in Trenton this afternoon to discuss the proposal.

“If it’s going to be a New Jersey exemption only, what gives those other states the incentive?” Jason Galanes, a spokesman for LoBiondo, said in a phone interview. “We went with the idea to let all states have an equal opportunity.”

New Jersey, with resorts along Atlantic Ocean beaches, is the second-largest U.S. casino market, behind Nevada. Pressures on the industry, including competition from new casinos in neighboring Pennsylvania, last year led Republican Governor Chris Christie’s administration to approve a $261 million tax reimbursement for the newest resort, the Revel casino scheduled to open this year.

In November, New Jersey voters passed a ballot measure supporting sports betting at casinos and tracks, 64 percent to 36 percent. Christie on Jan. 17 signed a bill that would permit wagering on professional and college sports if the federal ban is lifted.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elise Young in Trenton at eyoung30@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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