NJ Legislature prepares for legal sports betting

Lawmakers in the Garden State want to move ahead with a plan to regulate and tax sports betting.

US.- New Jersey has a leading role in the play to legalise sports betting in the United States, as the state is the one that reached the Supreme Court to lift the federal ban that prohibits all but four states to offer the gambling modality. Now, lawmakers are confident that there will be a favourable ruling and are moving ahead with a plan to regulate and tax winnings and bets.

A3911 – the bill introduced in the General Assembly – establishes a regulatory framework to license and operate sports betting at local casinos and racetracks. The bill regulates betting on professional and college sports online and in person. The bill says that betting on sporting events in the state would be banned, ruling out bets on games for the New York Giants, New York Jets, New Jersey Devils and New York Red Bulls.

Moreover, people would not have the chance to bet on games from New Jersey college teams, but this prohibition excludes collegiate tournaments that take place outside the state, even if individual games are held in New Jersey.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement would be in charge of issuing licences and making sure that regulations are in order. The New Jersey Racing Commission (NJRC) would also be involved in sports betting by approving operations at racetracks. Casinos and racetracks would need to pay an annual sports betting integrity fee of 2.5 per cent of their sports betting revenue. The fee would also support investigations into the integrity of sports games.

The bill’s primary sponsors are Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, Assemblywoman Joann Downey and Assemblyman John Burzichelli. Houghtaling believes that while the bill is still a work in progress and that legislators would continue working with casinos and racetracks, sports betting could be a great opportunity for New Jersey. “We are open to feedback and look forward to bringing the New Jersey gambling industry forward,” he said.

“Here in Monmouth County, the Monmouth Racetrack and Freehold Raceway would see a resurgence of attendance as a direct result of this bill, benefiting our local economy and producing more jobs,” added Downey.

PASPA, a sports protection act that was passed in 1992, prevents states from offering gambling lines on sports. Nevada, Oregon, Delaware, and Montana were granted special exemptions, as all four of those states were offering some variation of sports lotteries back in 1992. As New Jersey has taken the demand to the Court, a national approval of sports betting is a serious possibility.

According to invoices and information obtained by US-website Observer through a public records request with the New Jersey Division of Law, the state of New Jersey has spent US$8.6 million in legal bills fighting to legalise sports gambling. The legal costs are part of a five-year effort to bring sports betting to the state’s casinos and racetrack.

According to a report from Oxford Economics, if the federal prohibition gets lifted, New Jersey is expected to generate more than US$175 million in tax revenue and see the creation of more than 3,600 jobs.

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New Jersey sports betting