02/04/2015 11:44AM

Two bills aim to legalize sports betting


Federal legislators have introduced two bills that would open up states to gambling on sports by amending a federal law that prohibits the activity in most states, according to the American Horse Council.

Both bills were introduced by legislators from New Jersey, a state that has tried unsuccessfully to skirt the federal prohibition over the past three years through a directive and several state bills. In each case, the efforts have been challenged by sports leagues in the courts, which have consistently ruled that sports betting would be illegal in New Jersey without an amendment to the federal law.

A bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, a Democrat, would amend the federal law to exclude New Jersey from the federal prohibition. New Jersey would be the only state to be excluded under the bill.

The other bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a Republican, would allow states to pass legislation authorizing sports betting during a four-year window beginning Jan. 1, 2015, and ending Jan. 1, 2019.

Both bills were introduced during last year’s Congress but did not garner support.

Monmouth Park, which is operated under a lease from the state by New Jersey’s horsemen’s organization, has solidly backed the state’s plan to offer sports wagering. Under the previous efforts, sports betting would have only been allowed at racetracks and casinos.