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The bill now heads to the state Senate.
The bill, as currently written, is much like regulatory bills introduced and passed in a number of states. Some key points:
Legislation surfaced in 2015 related to fantasy sports but never gained serious traction.
The advancement of the legislation comes at a crucial point in the ongoing New Jersey sports betting case in the federal court system. (Sports betting is illegal in much of the US because of a federal law, PASPA.)
In that case, the state has tried to legalize sports betting. But the major US professional sports leagues and the NCAA have blocked that effort via the courts.
A brief from the US Solicitor General — as requested by the Supreme Court — could come this month. SCOTUS would likely announce its intention to hear the appeal or not by this summer.
Assemblymember Ronald Dancer said he did not want to do anything to “place the sports betting case in jeopardy,” an assessment that Chairman Ralph Caputo concurred with.
It appears that attitude may have changed, or the legislature is simply getting ready to act once the case is finally resolved.
Many states are taking a passive approach to DFS — regulating and then letting the current industry to its own devices. But New Jersey may be different in that regard.
A fantasy sports product is already in the works for Resorts Atlantic City, independent of the bill. Meanwhile, casinos and racetracks in the states that have explicitly legalized DFS have mostly stayed out of the vertical.
Using a fantasy sports law to offer something that is more like sports betting than DFS would present New Jersey with a new way to challenge the federal ban.
But, first things first. New Jersey’s Senate still has to approve the bill and send it to the desk of Gov. Chris Christie.
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