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A New Approach To Legalizing Sports Betting In NJ?

by KYW's David Madden

TRENTON, NJ (CBS) -- If you thought the battle to allow legalized sports betting in New Jersey was over, think again.

A bill introduced in the state legislature could present a new wrinkle for the federal courts to consider.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia this summer dealt another blow to ongoing efforts to allow for regulated sports betting. Now, Gloucester County Assemblyman John Burzichelli is teaming up with a North Jersey colleague to take regulation out of the equation, in an attempt to circumvent the federal ban.

"At the very least, it's sending a very clear message back to the federal government once again that we believe this is a state's rights issue," Burzichelli told KYW Newsradio.

He also concedes that, if the idea gets serious traction in the legislature, there will be serious debate over the idea of how far to take the idea to repeal all laws in the state over prohibiting and regulating sports wagering.

But Burzichelli sees this as a state's rights issue.

"If the federal government can turn their head and say to the people of Colorado recreational marijuana, although still recognized by the feds to be a crime, is allowed to be legal in Colorado because the state decided it's so, then they should equally respect New Jersey and it's people who have changed the constitution to say we want to be able to bet on sporting events in a legal environment."

New Jersey voters approved an amendment to the state constitution to allow for sports betting. But pro sports leagues and the NCAA have been successful in getting the courts to uphold a 1992 law that bars the practice in all but four states, including Delaware.

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