By Kim Glovas

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation on Friday removing any state barriers to sports betting in New Jersey.

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An early proponent of the bill — State Senator Raymond Lesniak of North Jersey — first sponsored sports betting legislation eight-years ago and has been fighting for it ever since.

One of the more recent actions he says he took:

“I sponsored the Constitutional amendment two years ago that New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved — 67-percent of the vote — so I’m looking forward to placing the first bet at Monmouth racetrack.”

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He says the state’s racing industry and casinos have been suffering for years, and there is no better example of that than the recent casino closings in Atlantic City.

He adds Nevada has had a monopoly on sports gambling for decades, and now that is changing:

“You go to Las Vegas for any big event, Superbowl week, any big weekend, NCAA tournament, you cannot get a room, people are there to bet on sports. We want that same thing happening in Atlantic City and to help our race tracks as well, and I’m looking forward to it as the sponsor.”

A federal judge in Trenton will likely have the last word on sports betting. Professional leagues and the NCAA have fought the state’s effort to allow sports betting.

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