We recieved such a great response fron James Hogan’s last piece we are bringing you some more of his insights.

There is an election in less then one week, and no one seems to care.Voter turnout is expected to be low, Governor Christie has been rather silent in endorsing and pushing Republican candidates despite his popularity and successes and as sample ballots began to arrive, the few folks who didn’t just toss them in the trash have been trying to understand the public question.

The question as it appears on the ballot reads as follows:

Shall the amendment to Article IV, Section VII, paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, agreed to by the Legislature, providing that it shall be lawful for the Legislature to authorize by law wagering at casinos or gambling houses in Atlantic City and at current or former running and harness horse racetracks on the results of professional, certain college, or amateur sport or athletic events, be approved?

The interpretive statement reads:

This constitutional amendment would authorize the Legislature to pass laws allowing sports wagering at Atlantic City casinos and at racetracks. Wagers could be placed on professional, certain college, or amateur sport or athletic events. However, wagers could not be placed on college games that take place in New Jersey or in which a New Jersey college team participates regardless of where the game takes place. A wager could be placed at a casino or racetrack either in-person or from any other location through an account wagering system that uses telephone, Internet or other means.

For once, the question itself seems rather simple and straight forward, I suspect most people who take the time to read it will answer Yes but I could be surprised..

Unfortunately, the real issues here don’t appear to be so simple, and a Yes, or a No, may or may not mean much. Having tried to do some research through my short contact list, it seemed impossible to get someone to answer what seemed like a few simple questions.  None of my contacts seemed to have the time to provide what may have been political science 101 crash course for me, one noted “it’s just not that simple”, another said “who cares about the public question?” and one told me “just vote Yes, but it won’t matter”. Two different sources provided me with a link to this wiki page (http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/New_Jersey_Sports_Betting_Amendment,_Public_Question_1_(2011)) that seemed to explain the issue a little better.

Based on the information I was able to get from my short list of contacts, and the wiki page, it seems to come down to:

Yes — NJ gets to spend time and money fighting a court battle, likely all of the way up to the Supreme Court, and then if and when a federal restriction is lifted, then the state Legislature can write a bill and change the state law. Essentially a Yes next Tuesday means maybe some year much later in my expected lifetime, we’ll have a debate and vote in Trenton to legalize sports betting.

No — NJ continues on like all but 4 other states where sports betting is legal. Maybe or maybe not related: Nevada, one of the states where sports betting is legal, has the nation’s highest unemployment level at 13.4%. The other states, Montana, Oregon and Delaware have unemployment rates of 7.7%, 9.6% and 8.1% respectively compared to NJ’s 9.2% so I doubt that sports betting solves the slow economy problem and I suspect No votes would be more of a protest vote against a less than important issue for most struggling taxpayers.

Also worth noting, a Yes or a No for sports betting has nothing at all to do with the issue of VLTs at Monmouth Park or the Meadowlands, it would just make betting on sports games legal, after that federal law changes, if it changes. It seems a bit disingenuous for the state Legislature to be giving the appearance of working so hard to bring gambling tourism money into the state through sports betting when it can’t even get legislation that would bring  gambling tourism money into the state through VLTs and slots at our own racetracks on the floor and up for a vote. With that, it’s easy for me to understand why voters are angry or apathetic, and planning to stay home.

Posted: November 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »


  1. Bob English said at 8:40 am on November 3rd, 2011:

    Vote yes on this but what the state really needs is for Christie, Sweney and some of the other legislatures to wake up and realize that a huge portion of NJ residents gambling dollars are being spent at out of state casinos/racinos. Permit slots/vlt’s or a full blown casino at The Meadowlands and keep that $$$ and jobs here in NJ. The states own study concluded that this would bring an additional $1 billion a year in new revenue to NJ WITH VERY MINIMAL HARM TO ATLANTIC CITY. NJ could than do what other states do and use a tiny portion of that $$$ to supplement horse racing purses. That would enable the states horseracing and equine industires to compete with those in surrounding states on an equal basis.

    AC casino/hotel owners could partner in a casino at The Meadowlands so they would share in the gains.

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  2. Joseph Irace said at 10:31 am on November 3rd, 2011:

    MANALAPAN, NJ – November 1, 2011 –

    Oceanport’s mayor and council issued a press release and approved a resolution in support of Public Question 1 on the November 8, 2011 ballot.

    OCEANPORT, NJ – October 30, 2011 — As elected representatives of Oceanport, we have a significant responsibility to provide leadership which will seek sustainable solutions to strengthen our community. Oceanport wishes to support a constitutional amendment allowing for wagering on sporting matches which benefits our residents now and far into the future by providing a conducive atmosphere where the New Jersey horse racing industry can thrive and compete with surrounding states.

    Mayor Michael J. Mahon, “The economic impact of the horse racing industry is substantial to our well being locally, regionally and statewide.”

    By endorsing Public Question 1 on the General Election Ballot of November 8th, 2011, Oceanport is pledging to the State of New Jersey that it supports the amending of the Constitution of the State of New Jersey to allow Oceanport and other regions of the state to remain leaders in professional horse racing by providing them with the legal authority to compete with surrounding states, such as New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware.

    Councilman Joseph Irace, “”If it gets approved, that’s only step one. Step two would be the legislature would have to draft a bill and then appeal to the federal government.”

    The Governing Body of the Borough of Oceanport will be unanimously supporting the attached resolution at our next Council Meeting on November 3rd.

    “It certainly helps the State of New Jersey and a $13 billion industry that supports open space,” said Mahon.

    WHEREAS, On November 8, 2011, New Jersey’s statewide elections will feature a constitutional amendment, “authorizing the legislature by law to allow wagering on sports events at Atlantic City casinos and at horse racetracks”; and

    WHEREAS, Oceanport has been home to Monmouth Park since 1870 and have long shared a special relationship; and

    WHEREAS, The Oceanport Governing Body and the Oceanport Task Force have long supported the horse racing industry and its $780 million of economic impact, $115 million in taxes, 56,000 acres of working agricultural landscape and open space and 7,000 jobs, including 910 directly related to Monmouth Park.

    WHEREAS, Since January 1, 1993, the federal “Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act,” 28 U.S.C. §§3701 et seq., has prohibited New Jersey from authorizing sports wagering; and

    WHEREAS, According to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, illegal sports wagering amounts to about $380 billion each year; and

    WHEREAS, Under the terms of the federal law, Nevada is the only state where sports
    wagering is legally permitted, and this activity has resulted in great direct and indirect revenues to that state’s economy; and

    WHEREAS, The State of New Jersey would benefit significantly from sports wagering at
    New Jersey’s racetracks and Atlantic City casinos:

    WHEREAS, The additional revenue created by legal sports wagering at the state’s race
    tracks would substantially improve the financial health and competitiveness of New Jersey’s horse racing industry; and

    WHEREAS, New Jersey’s racing industry, both thoroughbred and standardbred, directly
    and indirectly creates thousands of jobs in our community, which are currently under threat from competition by neighboring states with more substantial financial resources from racino revenue to subsidize their own racing industries and prize pools, would be made; and

    WHEREAS, the federal sports wagering ban is not effective in curbing illegal sport
    gambling, so that lifting the ban on sports wagering would allow state gaming enforcement agencies to properly regulate and police this activity;

    NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor & Council of the Borough of Oceanport that they support a constitutional amendment, “authorizing the legislature by law to allow wagering on sports events at Atlantic City casinos and at horse racetracks”; and urge residents to do the same when voting on November 8, 2011; and

    BE IT RESOLVED that a certified copy of this resolution be sent to Governor Chris Christie, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Senator Sean T. Kean, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Assemblyman David P. Rible, Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Assemblyman Declan J. O’Scanlon, Jr., Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr., Assemblywoman Amy H. Handlin, Assemblyman Samuel D. Thompson.

    –Submitted by the Borough of Oceanport

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