Jersey Voters Overwhelmingly Support Sports Betting

LeRoy's Sports Book in Las Vegas has a mobile sports betting application ready to go if Federal laws are relaxed

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly supported sports betting at Atlantic City Casinos and state racetracks, paving the way for a legal challenge to Federal restrictions against legal sports betting on mobile devices.

According to a Philadelphia Media Network report, the ballot initiative passed by greater than a two-to-one ratio. Republican Gov. Chris Christie says the initiative provides him ammunition to challenge the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act, passed by Congress in 2006, which prohibits all states except those that already allowed sports wagering to implement sports betting systems.

“With this referendum, we have an opportunity that gives the state more solid footing to challenge the federal ban on sports wagering outside of a few select places,” Christie said before he voted in favor of Public Question 1, according to Philadelphia Media Network.

The move is significant because reform to the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act and The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1992, are needed in order to allow legal sports betting on mobile devices across the United States. Today, because of Federal law, an estimated $380 billion annually in illegal sports betting is conducted in the United States annually, according to National Gambling Impact Study Commission. Much of that is conducted through the online portals of offshore casinos, which are widely known to provide poor customer service and slow payouts.

New law would prove a boom for mobile device application developers. To date, Cantor Gaming, which operates the race and sports books of such Las Vegas casino powerhouses as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the Tropicana Las Vegas, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and The Palazzo, and American Wagering, which operates a chain of race and sports books called Leroy’s, have released sports wagering applications that work in the state of Nevada. In addition, leading sports social media application developer PlayUp USA has similar capabilities through sister companies in international markets. Numerous other mobile sports application developers are also preparing sports wagering applications.

Research firm Gartner Group estimated that global mobile gaming revenues reached $5.6 billion in 2010, and predicted the market would grow to $11.4 billion dollars by 2014.