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Feds to NJ: No Sports Betting Allowed

The federal government wants to block New Jersey's move to allow sports betting.

New Jersey shouldn't be allowed to flout a federal law banning sports betting, the U.S. Department of Justice argues in paperwork filed in federal court this week.

The U.S. government joined a lawsuit Jan. 22 to prevent New Jersey's sports betting law from taking effect, Reuters reported.

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a 2011 referendum to allow sports betting in the Garden State. The nonbinding vote OK'd an amendment to the state constitution to legalize betting for professional and certain college sports at casinos and racetracks. 

Gov. Chris Christie supported the measure, despite federal laws against such betting. 

Professional sports leagues, including the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Hockey League, plus the National Collegiate Athletic Association, filed suit against New Jersey in August 2011 to stop the amendment. The federal government joins that existing lawsuit against New Jersey. 

In August, state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union County), the primary sponsor of the sports betting bill, essentially said: Bring it on. 

"Their lawsuit today means they’ve played right into our hands, and now they have the burden of defending the constitutionality of an unfair sports wagering ban which gives four states in the country—and off-shore betting operators and organized crime—a monopoly to the detriment of everybody else," Lesniak said at the time. 

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