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New Jersey picked up the support of lawmakers on the left coast Friday as the California state senate approved a measure in support of overturning the federal ban on sports betting in most states.

The Cali lawmakers’ measure urges the president and Congress to overturn the ban and asks the the state’s Attorney General to file a brief in support of New Jersey’s lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban.

The New Jersey suit was filed last year by state Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-Union) who argued that legalized sports betting could bring in as much as $100 million to the state’s coffers. 

In July, Gov. Chris Christie refused to sign on to the lawsuit.  In a letter to the judge handling the case, Christie Chief Counsel Jeff Chiesa wrote "At this time, given the unprecedented economic crisis and other challenges facing the state, the governor has determined that the state’s limited resources would be better utilized by focusing on other, more immediate issues facing the citizens of New Jersey.”

Sports gambling is a multi-billion dollar industry nationwide, the majority of it through illegal and offshore channels.  Only four states –  Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware - were exempted from the federal ban because they already had laws on the books allowing sports betting when the federal measure was passed.  Currently, only Nevada has active sports books.

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