By David Madden

TRENTON, Nj. (CBS) — A New Jersey senate committee gave the green light on Thursday for sports betting to be placed in Garden State casinos and racetracks. But you won’t be able to place a wager anytime soon.

The action came on the heels of November’s voter referendum supporting the concept. And right now, that’s all it is. Should the full senate approve it, along with the Assembly, where no action’s been taken yet, and Governor Chris Christie signs it, the fight has just begun.

State Senator Raymond Lesniak, prime sponsor of the plan, noted only four states now allow sports betting, by federal law.

“The Attorney General goes into court and says this ban is unconstitutional. There are plenty of legal scholars that believe that our arguments will win.”

Long time proponent Senator Jeff Van Drew of Cape May County believes this won’t just give casinos and racetracks a financial boost, it’ll stem the problems caused now by illegal bookmaking.

“Make no mistake about it. The illegal activity that occurs now involves itself with prostitution, drugs, extortion, loan sharking.”

Proponents could also lobby Congress to lift the ban it imposed decades ago.

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