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Circuit judgment a bad call for NJ

Editorial | Outlawing state’s sports betting does more harm than good

Last week, a federal circuit court ruled against New Jersey’s legalization of sports betting. Apparently, the state law conflicts with a federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. PASPA forbids sports betting as a measure to protect the integrity of sports games.

We call bullshit.

It’s no secret that all types of gambling take place in the state — namely Atlantic City — from casinos to horseracing tracks. In fact, we wrote an editorial last semester in favor of the state’s push to regulate online gambling in an effort to reenergize New Jersey’s economy after Hurricane Sandy. We’re all in favor of increased revenue.

Therefore, we are pretty peeved about the federal decision to prevent sports betting here. It’s unfair that Nevada and three other states were “grandfathered” by PASPA, since it came after their own legalizations of sports betting. Las Vegas is getting all the goods when it comes to betting on major events like the Superbowl and the NCAA Final Four.

That money could go towards a suffering Atlantic City. Gov. Chris Christie’s last attempt at getting juices flowing again in the city was the new Revel resort and casino, which floundered and filed for bankruptcy less than a year after it opened. Now, Christie is set on taking this whole sports betting thing to the highest court — which, in this case, would be the big boys in the Supreme Court. And if it comes to that, so be it.

But that means New Jersey won’t be able to take sports bets in time for the upcoming Superbowl. Perfect timing there, huh?

We agree with critics of the federal decision who say this opens more doors for illegal bets, like unlawful betting rings and sports betting sites. That’s all revenue that could be placed right into our economy, but now is going to hidden pockets. Big help that’ll give us.

It’s unfortunate that the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB and NCAA all oppose sports betting in New Jersey. We understand that we need to preserve the sanctity of games, but state-approved sports betting would probably be more beneficial to the leagues by discouraging the illegal alternatives. That’s exactly why we believe it would make more sense to have centralized areas for sports betting, rather than a bunch of underground and severely damaging outlets.

It’s also important for us to note that having sports betting isn’t the end-all-be-all solution for our economic woes, either. It’s cool that Christie is all gung-ho about this, but there are also many other important factors he should be turning his attention to as well. You didn’t think we’d turn a blind eye to the corruption and inefficiency of Atlantic City’s administration, did you? Let’s make sure we have a solid foundation to stand on before any major changes to the law.

Allowing sports betting in New Jersey goes hand in hand with the culture of A.C. It’s unfair to deny the state a major avenue of income, especially given its current conditions. How about we give Las Vegas a run for its money?

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