The idea of allowing sports betting in Atlantic City has been tossed around for years. But with the recent announcement that casinos are slated to open in Philadelphia by 2008 – and with two slot parlors already up and running outside the city – some feel that in order for Atlantic City to stay ahead of the competition, betting on sporting events should be permitted.
Atlantic City casino executives and state legislators have expressed fear that the new Philadelphia slot parlors would lure thousands of gamblers away from town. State Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew continues to push for a referendum to bring sports betting to the resort.
A federal law passed in 1993 allows sports betting in only four states: Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon. New Jersey was given the opportunity by the federal government to legalize sports betting, but the state failed to do so before a federal deadline, largely due to opposition led by former Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley.
Unlike Bradley, US Rep. Frank LoBiondo is in favor of allowing wagers on sporting events in Atlantic City.
Van Drew is very serious about it. He introduced a bill last January that would have placed a sports-betting referendum on the ballot this past November.