Delaware to allow sports gambling as NJ officials stall

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New Jersey won’t be the first state to benefit from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end the ban on sports gambling, despite Trenton’s seven-yearlong battle to make it happen. Instead, Delaware will get that honor.

Former Sen. Ray Lesniak was the one who began the fight to legalize sports betting in New Jersey.

“Delaware also filed for sports betting. They lost in court, we won,” he says. “I fight for 10 years. It’s just annoying that they are going to be first.”

Sports betting will be allowed in Delaware’s three casinos next Tuesday – just in time for Game 2 of the NBA finals and Game 5 of the Stanley Cup. The gambling is expected to bring in a lot of tax revenue.

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New Jersey officials have not yet said when wagering on professional sports will be allowed in the Garden State and Lesniak says that he wants to know why.

“The Legislature asked that they wait to start,” Lesniak says.

Officials at Monmouth Park Racetrack have already built a sports betting suite at the track. They were going to allow wagering on Memorial Day, but held off at the request of the state.

"This is a process where the governor, the Senate president and the Assembly speaker want to get it right because it's important to New Jersey,” officials said in a statement. “We've always said we want to cooperate with the Legislature.”

The statement continued, “Although we are disappointed, we respect the process and we want to continue to cooperate with the leaders of our state."

But Lesniak says that the state needs to allow this to happen sooner, rather than later.

“It’s important that we don't lose the momentum of this big win for New Jersey -- we have the NBA playoffs going on, the World Cup soccer will be a big draw,” he says.

The former senator says that he has heard June 8 as a possible start date for New Jersey.

News 12 New Jersey reached out to Gov. Phil Murphy’s office for comment, but did not hear back.

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