Panel holds hearing on NJ sports betting bill

TRENTON - (AP) - New Jersey's casinos and horse racingindustry are endorsing a nonbinding referendum that would askvoters to support legalizing professional sports betting.

Representatives told a Senate committee on Monday such gamingwould help Atlantic City compete with gaming in neighboring statesand would boost the state's economy.

Even if voters approve the question in November, the state musttry to repeal or overturn a federal law limiting legal sportsbetting to four states. Nevada, Delaware and two other states haveexemptions.

One consultant has estimated that sports betting could become a$10 billion-a-year industry in New Jersey, generating nearly $100million a year in tax revenues for the state.

Supporters say the state is missing out on tax revenue becausemany fans bet illegally with bookmakers on sports games.

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