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They say politics makes strange bedfellows, but throw some sports betting into the mix and things get really unusual.
Like two U.S. Congressmen — one a Democrat and the other Republican — joining forces to bring sports betting to New Jersey and Atlantic City casinos.
Republican Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd) and Democrat Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th) announced last week that they are teaming up to bring sports betting to the state.
Last year, New Jersey voters approved a statewide referendum to allow sports betting in the state by a two-to-one margin. But first, a federal ban on sports betting would have to be lifted. Under current federal law, four states can offer a form of sports betting, but only Nevada casinos are allowed to offer a true sports book.
Both LoBiondo and Pallone have separate bills pending in Congress to allow sports betting in New Jersey. Now, however, they have announced they will work together on both bills.
According to a press release, the two congressmen have sent a letter to the members of the state’s congressional delegation asking them to support and co-sponsor both bills. In the letter, Pallone and LoBiondo say their two bills represent different, but equally effective pathways of bringing sports gaming to the state.
Both bills would lift the ban on professional and amateur sports betting enacted in 1992, which currently prohibits states from implementing any new form of sports gaming.
H.R. 3081 would exempt New Jersey from current federal law and H.R. 3797, opens a window in which all states can enact a law providing for sports gambling in their state until Jan. 1, 2016.
“Sports betting is widely supported in the state of New Jersey, but federal law stands in the way of considerable revenues that will undoubtedly benefit the state,” said Pallone. “Both of these bills will enable us to bring sports betting to the state, and I look forward to working with my New Jersey colleagues to achieve this goal.”
“New Jersey has been clear about its intent to host sports-betting. Legalizing sports-betting would strengthen Atlantic City in the face of stiff competition, giving it an additional edge to attract visitors and critical tourism dollars,” said LoBiondo. “I appreciate Congressman Pallone’s partnership in gathering support for our effort to bring sports-betting to our state.”
In November 2011, New Jersey voters supported a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to allow sports gaming at casinos and racetracks. The state of New Jersey subsequently passed and the Governor signed legal sports betting into law, but federal law still prohibits sports betting in the state.
Obviously, Atlantic City casinos would rather see only New Jersey exempted from the federal ban, but there’s probably a better chance of getting the second bill through, giving all states a deadline to approve sports betting.
California, for example, has a bill moving through its state legislature to allow sports betting — provided the federal ban is lifted — in the same way that New Jersey has authorized it.
It’s also obvious that the two congressman are trying to kick start the issue in Congress, which to date, has not done much on the issue. At the very least, it’s nice to see some folks in Washington trying to work together.
In other news, the Borgata experienced an explosion of bad-beat jackpot mania Thursday (April 26), paying out $617,524 in a matter of hours.
And it took two hits of the jackpot — one for $50,000 and the other for $567,524.
Yes, one was much bigger than the other.
The Borgata’s small bad-beat Jackpot — paid for a minimum hand of quad deuces to quad nines — hit first at about 11am when quad sevens got tripped up by a straight Flush. Joseph Rispoli, of New Cumberland, West Virgina, had the sevens and won $20K.
Then at about 3pm, David Henry, of Marlton, saw his quad 10s go down to four aces. He wins $227,009, the hand winner, William Warner, gets $113,505 and the rest of the players at the table won $32,430 each.