New Jersey Unanimously Votes To Legalize Sports Betting

New Jersey Unanimously Votes To Legalize Sports Betting

On Thursday, a 25-plus year sports betting draught came to an end in New Jersey as the state legislature legalized sports gambling.

The New Jersey Assembly approved the bill in a unanimous 73-0 vote before the Senate followed with a 37-0 vote less than 30 minutes later.

"Today is the day that New Jersey gets the same benefits that Las Vegas does," stated former state Senator Raymond Lesniak. "During the Super Bowl or the NACC Tournament, in Las Vegas you can't get a hotel room and Atlantic City is a ghost town. This will change that."

Sen. Lesniak played an active role in attempting to legalize sports betting in New Jersey, sponsoring several pieces of legislation and advocating for the revitalization of Atlantic City casinos and racetracks.

New Jersey Assembly Bill 4111 gives casinos an 8.5 percent tax rate on sports wagers, along with an additional 1.25 percent fee for marketing initiatives. Horse racetracks offering sports betting would split the 1.25 percent fee between the host and county of operation.

The bill also legalizes online sports wagering, which is taxed at a 13 percent rate. Internet wagers can start being accepted 30 days after the law goes into effect.

What the law does not include, are the fees that Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association lobbied for in sports betting-friendly states in recent months. The leagues wanted a 1 percent “integrity fee” to be paid directly to the leagues in order to protect the integrity of their sporting events.

Now that sports gambling is legalized in the state that is considered ground zero in the battle for widespread regulation, gaming operators in the state are ready to launch their sports betting products.

Perhaps the most vocal has been Monmouth Park Racetrack, with the venue hoping to start accepting bets on sporting events by 5:00 pm on Friday.

"We're excited that this happened," said Dennis Drazen, a representative of Monmouth Park. "The long fight for all the years has finally reached a conclusion. The bill is on the way to the governor. We hope he signs it. This is a great victory for New Jersey, horse racing, and the casinos."

Before Drazen or any other casino interest can get started with sports betting, Governor Phil Murphy will first have to sign the law. The legislation can sit at Gov. Murphy’s desk for 45 days before a signature or veto is required – the latter of which is highly unlikely.

"Governor Murphy looks forward to closely reviewing the sports betting legislation that was recently passed by the Legislature," said Dan Bryan, press secretary for Murphy, in a press release. "The Governor has long been supportive of New Jersey's right to allow sports betting and he wants to ensure that the proposed regulatory scheme is fair and reasonable."

Though the governor’s office has yet to reveal when the law will be signed, he is not expected to sit on the legislation for long. Once approved by Gov. Murphy, New Jersey will become the second state behind Delaware to offer full-scale sports betting since the Supreme Court ruling.

If Monmouth Park gets its wish, NJ residents will be able to bet on the NBA Finals, with Game 4 taking place at 9:00 PM on Friday night.

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