New Jersey Calls Out NFL on Sports Betting Opposition
New Jersey lawmakers are seeking a public referendum to pass an amendment to the state constitution so as to allow legal sports betting at Atlantic City casinos. The legislators say NFL opposition to regulated sports gambling is hypocritical.
NFL spokesman Timothy McDonough told a public hearing in Atlantic City that legal betting on league games could change public confidence in the integrity of results.
"Mistakes are made in the course of the game, either by the ref or by players," he said. "But when mistakes are made, to a less rational person who is placing a bet, a mistake becomes a fix."
But lawmakers refused to be hypnotized by the NFL stance, pointing out the billions that are bet annually on the NFL illegally, and the ability to place bets in Las Vegas.
State Senator Jim Whelan said the NFL and its network partners constantly refer to the betting line, and gambling references are rampant among league coverage. Senator Ray Lesniak, a leader in pushing for legal sports betting, says the NFL is driven by gambling and bets on its games.
Even if the amendment to allow legal sports betting passes, the federal ban on sports gambling may still block New Jersey operations. But a lawsuit claims that permitting sports wagering in Nevada but not elsewhere is discriminatory, and seeks to have the ban removed.
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