Backers of sports betting in N.J. say it could mean more jobs, better economy

TRENTON – Supporters of sports betting in New Jersey told a Senate committee today that it will give a needed economic boost to the struggling casino and horse-racing industries.

Research analyst Adam Ozimek of Econsult Corp. told the State Government Committee that allowing online sports gambling would produce some $217 million in revenue and 1,600 jobs.

Expanding it to the casinos would also drum up more visitors, which have significantly decreased from 35 million visitors in 2005 to 29 million in 2010. Casino winnings were also down, from $5 billion to $3.5 billion.

Sen. Jim Whelan, (D-2), of Atlantic City, said voters will have a say on whether they want to have sports betting legalized in New Jersey in a November referendum. If voters approve, the Legislature will craft legislation indicating this, which will then be reviewed by the federal government.

Other groups, like the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Inc., along with the Casino Association of New Jersey, were in favor of legalizing sports betting.

The breeders groups said they have lost horses to other states where sports betting, along with video lottery machines, are allowed.

 

Backers of sports betting in N.J. say it could mean more jobs, better economy