TRENTON - A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by two Democratic legislators who want to legalize sports betting in New Jersey.
The lawsuit filed last year by state Sens. Raymond Lesniak and Stephen Sweeney challenged the federal law that bans sports betting in all but four states.
U.S. District Judge Garrett Brown issued his 19-page opinion Monday.
It says the senators had no legal standing to bring the suit, in part because New Jersey voters have not weighed in on the issue.
Lesniak promised to refile the lawsuit in November, if voters approve a ballot question that asks whether the state should offer sports betting.
He believes legalized sports betting would help revive Atlantic City's casinos, which have been hurt by competition from gaming halls in neighboring states.
Even if the November referendum is approved, the federal ban would still need to be repealed or overturned. Currently, sports betting is legal in Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon - four states that approved sports betting before a 1992 federal law banned it.
According to a Fairleigh Dickinson poll conducted in February, 53 percent of New Jersey voters want to lift the federal ban on sports betting.
Staff writer Dan Good contributed to this report.