Panel holds hearing on NJ sports betting bill

September 27, 2011 2:31:25 PM PDT
New Jersey's casinos and horse racing industry are endorsing a nonbinding referendum that would ask voters to support legalizing professional sports betting.

Representatives told a Senate committee on Monday such gaming would help Atlantic City compete with gaming in neighboring states and would boost the state's economy.

Even if voters approve the question in November, the state must try to repeal or overturn a federal law limiting legal sports betting to four states. Nevada, Delaware and two other states have exemptions.

One consultant has estimated that sports betting could become a $10 billion-a-year industry in New Jersey, generating nearly $100 million a year in tax revenues for the state.

Supports say the state is missing out on tax revenue because many fans bet illegally with bookmakers on sports games.