New Jersey voters have overwhelming approved a referendum that is the first step towards the possibility of legal sportsbetting in the state, including at the many Atlantic City casinos.
While the final tally isn't in the referendum passed by a wide margin, with nearly two-thirds of the New Jersey voters who turned out supporting it. Legalized sportsbetting at US casinos in New Jersey is projected at add as much as $200 million in gambling revenues each year, in addition to extra tourist dollars.
The referendum is just the first step in legalizing sportsbetting, as additional legislation is necessary to overturn a 1992 federal law that bans sports wagering in all US states except Montana, Delaware, Oregon, and Nevada.
Governor Christie of New Jersey had the following to say: ""With this referendum, we have an opportunity that gives the state more solid footing to challenge the federal ban on sports wagering outside of a few select places."
New Jersey came close to passing a law earlier in the year that would have paved the way for the state to offer online casino and poker sites for residents, with the state legislature passing it but Governor Christie vetoing it at the last minute.
Supporters of the online gambling bill are readying for a second attempt to get the legislation passed, addressing some of Christie's previous concerns and hoping that dwindling revenues at Atlantic City casinos adds extra impetus to pass an online gambling bill.
New Jersey has seen much of its gambling dollars migrate to neighboring states such as Pennsylvania which have opened newer slots parlors and other casinos that have steadily lured away former visitors to Atlantic City when it was the only game in town.