For nearly 20 years, legalizing online wagers and sports betting has been debated in New Jersey. The push is on again in the Legislature, where some lawmakers say allowing bets on the big games could help reverse the fortunes of Atlantic City casinos as well as revive the state’s faltering horse racing industry.
The ballot question will poll voters on whether sports betting should be allowed at the casinos and racetracks. Betting would be permitted on professional and collegiate sports — except for athletic events taking place in New Jersey or games involving New Jersey colleges.
Proponents also point to the economic advantages of the gambling expansion. A recent study estimates sports betting could mean about $225 million in new revenue for the casinos and racetracks.
Millions of people will be betting on the outcome of the major league baseball’s world championship series through illegal transactions with bookies. Illegal sporting bets are estimated to add up to almost $400 billion a year.
Not too long ago, gamblers had a choice of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Today, surrounding states and the internet offer convenience and variety that New Jersey has been slow to match.
It’s time to reassess the advantages of online betting and sports wagers to New Jersey.