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New Jersey Sports Betting Amendment, Public Question 1 (2011)

New Jersey Public Question 1, the Sports Betting Amendment, was on the ballot in New Jersey as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 8, 2011. The measure was approved.

The measure amended the state constitution to allow the legislature to legalize betting on the results of professional, college, and amateur sporting events.[1]

The measure also included specifics about where sports betting could take place. Betting would be permitted in-person, through telephone, or through internet at racetracks throughout the state and casinos in Atlantic City. The measure would maintain a ban on betting on college sporting events involving a New Jersey team or taking place in New Jersey.[1]

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case, Christie v. NCAA, regarding the legality of legislation authorized by Public Question 1. On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 (with one of the seven concurring justices partially dissenting) that the federal government could not require states to prohibit sports betting.[2]

Contents

Aftermath

Sports Wagering Act (2012)

Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-20) and Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-1) introduced legislation, the Sports Wagering Act, 13 days after voters approved Public Question 1. The Sports Wagering Act was designed to allow betting on professional and college sports events at casinos and racetracks.[3] The state legislature passed the bill on January 9, 2012. Gov. Chris Christie (R) signed the bill on January 17, 2012.[4]

Christie v. NCAA I

On August 7, 2012, the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB sued Gov. Christie, seeking to enjoin his administration from implementing the Sports Wagering Act of 2012. The NCAA et al. argued that the Sports Wagering Act violated the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which prohibited states from being involved in sports betting. Gov. Christie’s administration contended that PASPA violated the U.S. Constitution’s anti-commandeering doctrine, which states, “Congress ‘lacks the power directly to compel the States to require or prohibit’ acts which Congress itself may require or prohibit.” The state’s U.S. District Court ruled in favor of NCAA et al., striking down the Sports Wagering Act of 2012. On September 17, 2013, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 to upheld the lower court’s decision.[5] The state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.[6]

Sports Wagering Act (2014)

Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-20), along with nine co-sponsors, introduced a new Sports Wagering Act on October 9, 2014. Both chambers of the state legislature passed the bill on October 16, 2014. Gov. Christie signed the bill on October 17, 2014.[7]

As PASPA prohibited the state’s involvement in sports betting, the Sports Wagering Act of 2014 allowed casinos and racetracks to provide sports betting without the state being involved in the licensing or regulating of sports betting.[8] The Sports Wagering Act of 2012 involved the state in licensing and regulating sports betting.[3][9]

Christie v. NCAA II

See also: Christie v. NCAA

On October 20, 2014, the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB, which sued the state over the Sports Wagering Act of 2012, again filed litigation in federal district court over the Sports Wagering Act of 2014.[10] The court sided with the leagues, holding that the Third Circuit’s ruling in Christie v. NCAA I offered the state two options: either maintain prohibitions on sports betting or repeal the sports betting laws completely. The district court reasoned that the Sports Wagering Act of 2014 law violated PASPA because the law still involved the state granting permission. The governor’s administration appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. On August 9, 2016, the Third Circuit upheld the district court’s judgment that the Sports Wagering Act of 2014 violated PASPA and that PASPA did not commandeer the state.[6]

On October 7, 2016, the state appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.[11] On June 27, 2017, the Supreme Court decided to take up the case.[12] On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the federal government could not require states to prohibit sports betting.[13]

Election results

New Jersey Public Question 1
Result Votes Percentage
Approveda Yes 671,797 63.91%
No 379,339 36.09%

Election results from New Jersey Department of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot title was as follows:[1]

Shall the amendment to Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, agreed to by the Legislature, providing that it shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law wagering at casinos or gambling houses in Atlantic City and at current or former running and harness horse racetracks on the results of professional, certain college, or amateur sport or athletic events, be approved?[14]

Ballot summary

The measure’s interpretive statement was as follows:[1]

This constitutional amendment would authorize the Legislature to pass laws allowing sports wagering at Atlantic City casinos and at racetracks. Wagers could be placed on professional, certain college, or amateur sport or athletic events. However, wagers could not be placed on college games that take place in New Jersey or in which a New Jersey college team participates regardless of where the game takes place. A wager could be placed at a casino or racetrack either in-person or from any other location through an account wagering system that uses telephone, Internet or other means.’[14]

Constitutional changes

See also: New Jersey Sports Betting Amendment, constitutional changes

The measure amended Section 7(D) and Section 7(F) of Article IV of the New Jersey Constitution. The following underlined text was added:[1]Note: Use your mouse to scroll over the below text to see the full text.

D. It shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law the establishment and operation, under regulation and control by the State, of gambling houses or casinos within the boundaries, as heretofore established, of the city of Atlantic City, county of Atlantic, and to license and tax such operations and equipment used in connection therewith. Any law authorizing the establishment and operation of such gambling establishments shall provide for the State revenues derived therefrom to be applied solely for the purpose of providing funding for reductions in property taxes, rental, telephone, gas, electric, and municipal utilities charges of eligible senior citizens and disabled residents of the State, and for additional or expanded health services or benefits or transportation services or benefits to eligible senior citizens and disabled residents, in accordance with such formulae as the Legislature shall by law provide. The type and number of such casinos or gambling houses and of the gambling games which may be conducted in any such establishment shall be determined by or pursuant to the terms of the law authorizing the establishment and operation thereof. It shall also be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law wagering at casinos or gambling houses in Atlantic City on the results of any professional, college, or amateur sport or athletic event, except that wagering shall not be permitted on a college sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey or on a sport or athletic event in which any New Jersey college team participates regardless of where the event takes place;

F. It shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize, by law, the specific kind, restrictions and control of wagering on the results of live or simulcast running and harness horse races conducted within or outside of this State. The State’s share of revenues derived therefrom shall be used for such purposes as shall be provided by law. It shall also be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law wagering at current or former running and harness horse racetracks in this State on the results of any professional, college, or amateur sport or athletic event, except that wagering shall not be permitted on a college sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey or on a sport or athletic event in which any New Jersey college team participates regardless of where the event takes place.[14]

Support

Supporters

Arguments

  • In response to the fact the measure was an advisory measure until the federal law was overturned, Robert Griffin, president of the association and CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., said, “This November referendum, if passed, would provide an important step in the continuing process towards overturning the federal sports betting ban. If the referendum is passed and if the federal ban is subsequently overturned, legal sports betting would provide an economic boost for Atlantic City and the entire state of New Jersey.”[16]
  • Sen. Raymond Lesniak said, “It’s just so wrong that the federal government allows sports betting to take place in Nevada and not in New Jersey. During Super Bowl week and Final Four week, you can’t get a room in Las Vegas–and Atlantic City is barren. We need that tourism. We need that revenue.”[17] Despite the federal law, Lesniak vowed to introduce legislation should the measure be approved by voters on November 8, 2011.[18]
  • According to State Senator Raymond Lesniak, who introduced the proposal, “It’s putting us in a position to take advantage of a change in the law. So next Super Bowl next year, we’ll be able to bet, just like people in Nevada can.” According to the bill’s co-sponsor, State Senator Jeff Van Drew, “New Jersey dropped the ball once when it came to legalizing sports betting. Now is our chance to get it right. Pennsylvania’s slot parlors are already out-hauling our own casinos, and without new ways to draw bettors to Atlantic City, its competitive edge will dull.”[19][20]
  • Senator Raymond Lesniak had been a supporter of allowing sports betting in New Jersey to allow struggling casinos in Atlantic City to expand their revenues. Lesniak filed a lawsuit in 2009 to overturn a 1992 law banning sports betting in 46 states and Washington, D.C.[21].
  • State Assemblywoman Concetta Wagner supported the idea of the amendment, stating, “Sports betting already exists in New Jersey, but only the criminals are enjoying the profits. Sports fans put billions of dollars on the line every year, regardless of its legality. A legal Atlantic City and race track-based sports book would ensure bettors are not fleeced or put in harm’s way.”[21]
  • Casino Association of New Jersey, the trade group of the state’s casino operators, stated support of the measure. According to group president Bob Griffin: “Legalized sports betting will attract more tourists to visit our city and enjoy our world-class entertainment, thriving restaurant industry, brand-name retail shopping and famous Boardwalk. Sports betting will allow Atlantic City to better compete, grow and reinvest in the region.”[22]
  • Oceanport’s mayor and council approved a resolution in support of Public Question 1. The resolution said in part, “NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor & Council of the Borough of Oceanport that they support a constitutional amendment, “authorizing the legislature by law to allow wagering on sports events at Atlantic City casinos and at horse racetracks;” and urge residents to do the same when voting on November 8, 2011…”[23]
  • Gov. Chris Christie said on November 2 that sports betting should not be limited to a few states. “The fact is now gaming is everywhere in many states across the country, so there’s no reason why sports gaming in my view should be restricted,” he said. Christie also agreed to work with Sen. Lesniak to try to implement sports betting in the state.[24] In September 2011, Christie reportedly said that it was pointless to pursue sports betting in light of the existing federal ban.[15]

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there are no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated October 2011)

Opposition

Opponents

Arguments

  • Harrah’s Entertainment, the well known casino company opposed the amendment calling the referendum vote “premature” without changing federal laws allowing the expansion of sports betting. Harrah’s cited that Montana, Oregon, Delaware, and Nevada only allow sports betting under a 1992 federal law banning sports wagering in 46 states and the District of Columbia[21].
  • The National Football League (NFL) has traditionally opposed the expansion of sports betting beyond Nevada. In response to the New Jersey measure NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said that the league has a “long-held, unwavering opposition to gambling on NFL games.”[15]

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there are no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated October 2011)

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of New Jersey ballot measures, 2011

Support

  • The Asbury Park Press said, “If it ever happens, legalized sports betting in New Jersey could end up being too little, too late for Atlantic City’s struggling casinos and racetracks. Nonetheless, we think that sports betting should come to Atlantic City because, frankly, it’s practical and it might help lure visitors and preserve jobs — something that’s of utmost importance for New Jersey’s economy. The issue will be the only statewide public question on the Nov. 8 election ballot. We strongly support its passage.”[25]
  • The Press of Atlantic City said, “So let’s go for it. We certainly have no moral qualms about sports betting, considering how widespread it already is, legally and illegally. Interestingly, this time around, the professional sports leagues don’t seem to be lobbying against the measure.”[26]
  • The Times of Trenton said, “Illegal sports betting is estimated to generate about $400 billion a year; some put the figure at closer to half a trillion dollars. New Jersey, like every other state, is virtually powerless to stop the illegal transactions. Why not, then, legally establish sports wagering in a way that benefits the state with a new source of tax revenue? That’s the question voters will have to answer Nov. 8. We believe the right response is yes.”[27]
  • The Star-Ledger said, “Still, there’s no reason New Jersey shouldn’t try to get a slice of the action. Face it: The state needs the money and casinos need this lifeline…In the end, passage would be moot unless a federal law limiting sports betting to four states is lifted. But voters should vote yes.”[28]

Opposition

  • The Gloucester County Times said, “If the only statewide question on Tuesday’s ballot were straightforward in its wording, and didn’t hide its practical, immediate effect, we’d recommend a “yes” vote…As we’ve stated before, the ban is discriminatory….Nonetheless, there are less-convoluted ways to fight the ban, including working with our congressional delegation to repeal it. The safer bet on Tuesday is to vote “no,” even if you’re among the majority of state voters whom polls say want to allow this kind of wagering.”[29]
  • The Inquirer said, “Sports betting is a bad bet for New Jersey. It already relies too heavily on gambling in a market saturated with wagering opportunities. Making sports betting legal would also make it easier to breed more compulsive gamblers. Sports have already been plagued by illegal betting scandals that raise questions about the integrity of games. New Jerseyans should vote NO.”[30]
  • The Record said, “We have not seen any organized campaigns in support of either side. No matter how much or how little publicity the question is generating, the proposal is a bad idea and should be defeated.”[31]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2011 ballot measures

  • A poll released during mid-April 2011 by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind found that 53 percent of respondents supported sports betting in the state, while 30 percent opposed. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.[32]
  • A poll released on October 10, 2011 by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind found that 52 percent support legalizing gambling, while 31 percent were opposed. The poll surveyed 800 registered voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.[33]
    • Additionally, pollsters said that 70 percent of voters said they had yet to hear information related to the proposal and 67 percent said they had little interest in the issue.[34]
  • A poll conducted between October 6 and October 9, 2011, by Rutgers-Eagleton Poll revealed that 58 percent of polled registered voters were in favor of Public Question 1, while 31 percent were opposed and 12 percent were undecided. The poll surveyed 903 adults, including a sample of 821 registered voters and 603 likely voters. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points.[35][36]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Mar. 29 – Apr. 4, 2011 Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind 53% 30% 17% 711
October 10, 2011 Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind 52% 31% 17% 800
October 6-9, 2011 Rutgers-Eagleton Poll 58% 31% 12% 903

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the New Jersey Constitution

Procedure

In New Jersey, the state legislature must approve a proposed amendment by a supermajority vote of 60% but the same amendment can also qualify for the ballot if successive sessions of the New Jersey State Legislature approve it by a simple majority. Four states (Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) have an either/or system: a proposed amendment must be passed by simple majority in two separate legislative sessions, or by a supermajority vote of one session.[37]

Senate vote

The Senate version of the amendment was approved unanimously by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee by a 4-0 vote on February 8, 2010. A public hearing on SCR 49 was held on April 5, 2010 in Atlantic City, New Jersey[38][39][40]

Postponement

There were two floor votes scheduled in the Legislature, but were postponed. The first floor vote was scheduled for May 20, 2010, but was put on hold in anticipation of New Jersey winning the rights to host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014. Due to Harrah’s expressing objection to the sports betting amendment, a Senate floor vote was put on hold until June 21, 2010. The Assembly version of the amendment was approved in committee on June 17, 2010. The amendment did not qualify for the November 2010 ballot as the Legislature did not schedule a vote before August 2, 2010, the deadline to qualify a constitutional amendment.[41][42][43][44][45].

2011 referral

New Jersey lawmakers voted in favor of sending the proposed constitutional amendment to the November 2011 ballot on December 13, 2010.[21]

Timeline

Calendar.png

The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Approval Feb. 8, 2010 Senate version of amendment approved by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.
Floor votes May 20, 2010 Legislative vote was scheduled but put on hold for anticipation of state winning rights to host Super Bowl in 2014.
Approval June 17, 2010 The Assembly version of the amendment was approved in committee.
Deadline missed Aug. 2, 2010 The amendment failed to make 2010 election as Legislature did not schedule a vote before deadline.
Ballot access Dec. 13, 2010 Measure was sent to the 2011 ballot after Legislature approved of the measure.
Election Nov. 2011 Measure was placed on the general election ballot in the state of New Jersey.

See also

Articles

External links

Campaigns

Additional reading

Aftermath

Footnotes

  1. 1.01.11.21.31.4New Jersey Legislature, “Senate Concurrent Resolution 49,” accessed September 12, 2017
  2. USA Today, “Supreme Court strikes down ban on sports betting in victory for New Jersey,” May 14, 2018
  3. 3.03.1New Jersey Legislature, “Senate Bill 3113,” accessed September 12, 2017
  4. NJ.com, “Gov. Christie signs bill allowing gamblers to place bets on pro, college sports teams,” January 17, 2012
  5. Reuters, “New Jersey to appeal sports betting ruling,” September 17, 2013
  6. 6.06.1U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, National Collegiate Athletic Association et al. v. Governor of the State of New Jersey et al. August 9, 2016
  7. 6 ABC, “Governor signs NJ sports betting bill,” October 17, 2014
  8. New Jersey Legislature, “Senate Bill 2460,” accessed September 12, 2017
  9. NJ.com, “Christie signs law allowing sports betting in N.J.” October 17, 2014
  10. ESPN, “NCAA, NFL seek to stop N.J. betting,” October 21, 2014
  11. Las Vegas Review-Journal, “New Jersey group presses Supreme Court for sports betting,” October 7, 2016
  12. Washington Post, “In surprise move, Supreme Court says it will take on New Jersey sports-betting case,” June 27, 2017
  13. USA Today, “Supreme Court strikes down ban on sports betting in victory for New Jersey,” May 14, 2018
  14. 14.014.114.2Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributable to the original source. Cite error: Invalid tag; name “quotedisclaimer” defined multiple times with different content
  15. 15.015.115.2NorthJersey.com, “Speakers support NJ sports betting at state Senate panel hearing,” September 26, 2011
  16. Cite error: Invalid tag; no text was provided for refs named LVRJSept1711
  17. Newsworks.com, “Lawmaker says odds are good sports betting will come to N.J.,” September 26, 2011
  18. Stateline.org, “States ponder sports betting as source of new revenue,” November 3, 2011
  19. Cape May County Herald, “Van Drew Sports Betting Bill Advances,” February 9, 2010
  20. Cite error: Invalid tag; no text was provided for refs named NJFeb8
  21. 21.021.121.221.3Philadelphia Inquirer, “Sports betting bill in N.J. gets put on hold,” June 11, 2010
  22. Houston Chronicle, “AC casinos back sports betting referendum,” September 13, 2011
  23. SBOANJ, “Oceanport endorses sports wagering ballot question,” November 4, 2011
  24. Newsworks.com, “Christie backs sports betting in New Jersey,” November 2, 2011
  25. Asbury Park Press,”‘Yes’ vote on public question smart bet,” October 28, 2011
  26. Press of Atlantic City, “The sports-betting question / Vote yes to help Atlantic City,” October 16, 2011
  27. Times of Trenton, “Editorial: N.J. voters should send strong message in support of sports betting referendum,” November 1, 2011
  28. The Star-Ledger, “N.J. voters should back sports betting amendment,” November 6, 2011
  29. Gloucester County Times, “Make it ‘no’ on betting question,” November 2, 2011
  30. The Inquirer, “Inquirer Editorial: No to sports betting; yes on a rainy-day fund,” November 1, 2011
  31. The Record, “The Record: Don’t bet on it,” November 7, 2011
  32. WSLS.com, “Poll: 53 Pct. in NJ Favor Legalized Sports Betting,” April 18, 2011
  33. The State Column, “Poll: Voters support legalizing sports betting,” October 10, 2011
  34. The State Column, “Poll finds N.J. sports betting measure is popular,” October 11, 2011
  35. Philly.com, “Poll: Majority of N.J. voters support sports betting,” October 20, 2011
  36. Eagleton Poll, “Rutgers-Eagleton POll: voters strongly support sports betting,” October 19, 2011
  37. Comparative Analysis of the mode of amending state constitutions, p. 108
  38. New Jersey Newsroom, “Public hearing on N.J. sports betting set for Atlantic City,” March 31, 2010
  39. New Jersey Legislature, “Summary of Senate Concurrent Resolution 49 (2010)”(Search using term “SCR 49”)
  40. New Jersey Legislature, “Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee Report on SCR 49,” February 8, 2010
  41. New Jersey Legislature, “History of SCR 49(2010)”(Search SCR49)
  42. New Jersey Legislature, “History of ACR 98(2010)”(Search ACR98)
  43. Atlantic City Press, “New Jersey’s successful Super Bowl bid may put sports betting, racetrack slots on hold ,” June 2, 2010
  44. Philadelphia Inquirer, “Sports betting bill in N.J. gets put on hold, June 11, 2010
  45. PolitickerNJ “Assembly Democratic Legislation to pave way for sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and racetracks advanced by Assembly panel,” June 17, 2010



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