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NJ Congressman reiterates sports betting support ahead of SCOTUS hearing

New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone has again called on the US federal government to give states the right to legalise sports betting and online gaming.

Speaking at Monmouth Park Racecourse ahead of the US Supreme Court hearing early next month in New Jersey’s case to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), Congressman Pallone said the case was "an issue of fairness".

The Supreme Court has scheduled an hour-long oral hearing for December 4th, the start of a process that may see states given the power to regulate sports betting.

"New Jersey, and every other state for that matter, should have the same opportunity to proceed with sports betting and online gaming that has been allowed in some states," said Pallone. "The citizens of New Jersey overwhelmingly support legalized sports betting and acted in a referendum to show that support.

"Both Congress and the Supreme Court should respect these actions and allow places like Monmouth Park to take part in sports betting."

He noted that a 2011 referendum had seen New Jersey residents vote in favour of legalised sports betting, with a bill subsequently passing through the state legislature. This was then blocked by legal challenges from major US sports leagues.

Pallone also cited American Gaming Association CEO Geoff Freeman's claim that more than US$5bn in state and local taxes and up to 150,000 jobs were being lost to illegal sports betting.

Monmouth Park, which has invested $1m in the construction of the William Hill Sports Bar with a view to converting the venue into a sports betting facility, has also estimated that legal betting would raise $1m a week in revenue.

A vocal supporter of gambling regulation, Pallone has filed an Amicus Brief with the Supreme Court in support of New Jersey, in which he describes PASPA as unconstitutional.

He has also submitted a discussion draft of the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement (GAME) Act, which would remove the federal obstacles to legalise gambling at the state level. Pallone first began circulating the bill in May this year. The GAME Act also sets out a range of enhanced consumer protection measures for the daily fantasy sports industry.

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