New Jersey Legislation Has Unanimously Agreed To Legalize Sports Betting – Now Just Waiting On Governor’s Signature
New Jersey lawmakers have agreed on and passed a bill that would legalize sports betting. The legislature, which passed by unanimous vote in both the House Assembly and the Senate, is now awaiting Governor Phil Murphy’s signature to become law. Let’s take a look at what’s included and not included in New Jersey’s sports betting law, and what that means for you.
Where Will I Be Allowed To Bet On Sports?
New Jersey sports betting will be able to take place at casinos and racetracks across the state. Within the bill, it was stipulated that racetracks that have been active in the last 15 years would be allowed to apply for a license to open their own sportsbook, which would mean the former Atlantic City Race Course would be allowed to open their own sportsbook, should they choose to reopen.
Monmouth Park, the Meadowlands, and Freehold Raceway would all be allowed to open a sportsbook as soon as Murphy inks his name on the bill. Both Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands have been vocal about the fact that they are willing and eager to open a sportsbook as soon as the bill becomes law. That being said, they aren’t going to push the envelope. Monmouth park owner Dennis A. Drazin said, “If it comes down to the Governor telling me no, I’m going to do what the Governor says.”
In an interesting turn of events early Thursday morning, a clause was added to the bill that would allow Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the Golden Nugget Hotels, to open a sportsbook in his Atlantic City establishment. The caveat to this is that his sportsbook cannot offer action on any NBA games. Patrons would be allowed to wager on all other sports, however.
It appears that another such clause was added to the bill earlier in the week. This amendment states that owners of professional teams who are also owners of racetracks or casino(s) in New Jersey may offer sports betting within their facilities, so long as they have less than a 10 percent controlling interest in the gambling establishment.
This caveat would allow the Borgata, owned by MGM, and the three casinos owned by Caesar’s Entertainment group to offer sports betting on their casino floors. MGM owns the WNBA Las Vegas Aces, and Caesar’s Entertainment is partially owned by Apollo Global Management, which is owned by Joshua Harris. Harris owns the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils. This allows the Atlantic City casinos Harrah’s, Caesars, and Bally’s to offer sports betting as soon as the bill becomes law.
Online sports betting was also approved under the new bill. If signed into law, sports betting online in New Jersey would become available to residents across the state 30 calendar days after the law takes effect.
Residents of New Jersey should note that although the legal age to bet on horse racing in New Jersey is 18, the legal age to bet on sports is 21.
Which Sports Will I Be Allowed To Wager On?
Single-game wagering opportunities will be available for residents for all professional sports. This means lines on football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, and auto racing. You’ll more than likely find lines on other professional sports outside of the American circuit, as well. New Jersey will also offer wagering on NCAA games.
As a resident of New Jersey, or even as a visitor to the Garden State, you will not be allowed to wager on any NCAA team that is based in New Jersey, no matter where they play. You will also not be allowed to wager on any of the high school games taking place in the state or outside of it (that means you, Montclair and Don Bosco fans). You will also not be allowed to bet on electronic sports leagues in the state of New Jersey.
So Will I Be Able To Bet On Sports This Weekend?
We’re not sure. It really all depends on when Gov. Murphy signs the bill. It doesn’t become official until he’s inked his signature, and unfortunately, Gov. Murphy has not exactly been forthcoming on when he will sign the legislation.
“He said he wants to act quickly,” says Murphy’s spokesperson, Dan Bryan. “But the legislation will be subject to the same thorough review that all legislation sent to him for signature is subject to.” The governor has 45 days to either sign or veto the law before it automatically is passed without his signature.
It’s doubtful that he would leave the legislature, the state, and gambling establishments in suspense for that long, especially when the bill passed through both parts of the legislature with unanimous support. But the Governor wants to be thorough, and we can’t fault him for that.
That being said, he should act as quickly as is feasible. Delaware brought in over $300,000 on the opening day of sports betting and is continuing to rake in the cash. New Jersey could easily triple that if they legalized sports betting before the weekend, especially with game one of the Mets-Yankees series, Game 4 of the NBA Finals, and the Belmont Stakes taking place over the next few days. New Jersey is expected to bring in over $7 billion annually once their sports betting operations are finalized.
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