Stateline.org is reporting that as state revenues are in a freefall, some states are looking to tap into the popularity of March Madness and Super Bowl pools by legalizing sports betting to snag a cut of the billions of dollars in play.
In New Jersey, state Rep. Ray Lesniak (D) is part of a lawsuit seeking to overturn a 1992 federal law that essentially bans sports betting except for the four states that were grandfathered in because they already had wagering programs: Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.
Only Nevada allows betting on sporting events across the country and Montana, for the first time last year, began offering fantasy football betting via its lottery.
With Atlantic City casinos in a slump – winnings were down by nearly 20 percent from the previous year – Lesniak wants the state to get a share of the $380 billion that some experts figure illegal betting generates. “Billions of dollars are being bet offshore through the Internet or through organized crime, and those are revenues that could be coming to New Jersey,” he told The Star-Ledger.
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