By Michael Bennett

You’ve got to hand it to New Jersey.

They have never given up on pushing the pebble up the hill on legalizing sports betting in the Garden State.

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) released a draft of a bill yesterday that would allow states to legalize sports betting.

The Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, or GAME Act, would repeal the 1992 federal law mostly confining sports betting to Nevada and allow other states to add sports gambling, along with online gaming, provided consumer protections, taxing, and regulations also are put in place.

Pallone hails from a state that since 2012 has been trying to add sports betting in the hopes a new gaming option would send a jolt of business into ailing Atlantic City casinos.

“Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” Pallone said in a news release. “It’s time to recognize that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernize them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”

The GAME Act is in draft form, meaning it is intended to solicit feedback from stakeholders. The American Gaming Association favors expanding legal sports betting, while the NCAA and three of the four professional sports leagues remain opposed, albeit with signs that the league offices for the NHL, MLB and NFL are open to discussing the issue.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has spoken in favor of legal sports betting, and Pallone’s bill appears to align with the type of legislation Silver has said he would support.

As a discussion draft, there is no timeline for action on the GAME Act. The release of the bill comes a day after the U.S. Solicitor General filed a brief recommending the Supreme Court not take up New Jersey’s legal challenge to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

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