NJ Governor signs sports betting legislation

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill today allowing sports betting at New Jersey casinos and racetracks for certain professional sports, collegiate sports and athletic events.

“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” Murphy said. “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 can accept wagers at a sports wagering lounge, and can, with permission from the state, operate a sports pool at a temporary facility during the construction of a sports wagering lounge. Licensed casinos and racetracks will also be allowed to operate an online sports pool beginning 30 days after the effective date of the bill.

People placing wagers must be at least 21 years of age. The bill also provides that athletes, coaches, referees, and other people 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. 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 authorizes the New Jersey 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. The regulations allow for already-licensed casinos and racetracks to apply for a  waiver that will enable them to offer sports betting.

The estimated tax revenues that will be generated from sports betting are projected to be about $13 million the first full year of operation, according to the Murphy administration.

On Wednesday June 13th, the New Jersey Racing Commission will hold a meeting to review regulations related to the establishment of sports betting at New Jersey racetracks. After the racing commission adopts regulations, the governor will ratify the commission’s decision and licensed racetracks will then be able to apply for a temporary waiver to begin offering sports betting.

Several sports organizations, including the NCAA, opposed legalizing sports gambling in the state, arguing that wagering has the potential to undermine the integrity of sports contests.