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The New Jersey State Senate and Assembly will open legalizing sports betting to popular vote in next November’s election.Even if voters approve sports gambling – which they’re expected to do – New Jersey would have to appeal a federal ban on sports gambling on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.
(It’s a fight they’re unlikely to win, however, as Delaware’s recent attempt at sports betting was severely limited by an NFL lawsuit.)
Obviously, the state wants to pass the bill so it can collect much-needed tax revenue from sports books. But that’s exactly why sports gambling addicts should pray this thing doesn’t pass.
The sports gambling system works pretty well the way it’s currently constructed. Anyone who wants to bet on sports can find a way to do so. Whether it’s a local under-the-table bookie, or one of many huge internet sites, there’s no shortage of ways to blow cash. In fact, all the competition has helped bettors by driving down the vig – or overhead – to nearly five per cent. State taxation would significantly increase that overhead.
Sports betting is technically illegal but obviously easily accessible. That’s the way gamblers like it. That small barrier to entry helps form a sort of brotherhood among bettors, especially old-timers that rely on bookies. And, of course, they like keeping their winnings for themselves, not sharing it with the government.
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