New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed Assembly Bill 4111, allowing sports betting at the state’s casinos and racetracks for ‘certain professional and collegiate sports or athletic events’, said a statement from the Governor’s office on Monday this week. The estimated State tax revenues that could be generated from sports betting are projected at approximately $13m in the first full year of operation.
“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalised sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “I’m thrilled to sign Assembly Bill 4111 because it means that our casinos in Atlantic City and our racetracks throughout our state can attract new business and new fans, boosting their own long-term financial prospects. This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy.”
Under the legislation, a licensed casino or racetrack may accept wagers at a sports wagering lounge at its respective premises, and can petition to operate a sports pool at a temporary facility during the construction of a sports wagering lounge. In addition, licensed casinos and racetracks can seek to operate an online sports pool beginning 30 days after the effective date of the bill.
Under the auspices of the bill, individuals placing wagers must be at least 21 years of age. The bill also provides that athletes, coaches, referees, and other persons with potential influence or access to non-public information regarding sporting events, are prohibited from placing bets on sporting events overseen by the league in which they participate. Additionally, wagers cannot be placed on high school sporting events or collegiate athletic events taking place in New Jersey or involving New Jersey teams.
The bill authorises the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the New Jersey Racing Commission to issue emergency regulations for a period of up to 270 days to govern sports betting. These regulations are to allow for already-licensed casinos and racetracks to apply for a transactional waiver that will enable them to commence sports betting.
Bill sponsors include Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling, John J. Burzichelli, Joann Downey, Ralph R. Caputo, Raj Mukerji, Paul D. Moriarity as well as Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senators Jeff Van Drew and Vin Gopal.
On Wednesday this week, the New Jersey Racing Commission will hold a meeting to review regulations related to the establishment of sports betting at New Jersey racetracks. Following the Racing Commission adopting regulations, the Governor will be able to ratify the Racing Commission’s decision and licensed racetracks will then be able to apply for a temporary waiver to commence sports betting.
SBC Americas analysis: The speed with which the legislation has been passed by NJ and Delaware in the wake of the PASPA announcement is testament to the old adage that where there’s a will there’s a way. Compared with the often glacial approach to getting things on the statute books in the UK, the US has been faster than a child bolting from its chores in getting the job done. That’s got to be good for business and those bettors who would rather take the legal route to placing a wager. And it’s likely they’ll be able to do that by the end of this week.