Sports betting is legal in New Jersey!
Gov. Phil Murphy added his name to the bottom of A 4111 this afternoon, signing NJ sports betting into law. His approval marks the end of a yearslong effort stymied by legal battles reaching all the way to the US Supreme Court.
Shortly after capping his pen, Murphy released a statement to confirm what he’d just done:
Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey. 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.
As for a timeline, folks in NJ could be betting on sports before the weekend arrives. Monmouth Park plans to open its sportsbook Thursday at 10:30 a.m., less than 72 hours from now.
What does the law allow, prohibit?
The law, which both chambers unanimously approved last week, allows casinos and racetracks to accept in-person wagers almost immediately. Thirty days from now, they can also seek approval for online and mobile sports betting.
All professional sports are fair betting fodder, as are collegiate games not involving NJ teams or venues. Books are not allowed to take action on high school games, nor on Esports and competitive video games.
Those closely associated with a sport — players, coaches, referees — may not bet on their own sport. This also applies to owners, which has a direct impact on one NJ property. Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta also owns the Houston Rockets, so his property will not be allowed to book NBA action.
Casinos will pay 8.5 percent of revenue from land-based wagering and 13 percent for electronic wagers. Tracks will pay an additional 1.25 percent of revenue from electronic wagers — 14.25 percent total. In addition, all US sports bets are subject to a 0.25 percent handle tax at the federal level.
Not surprisingly, there are no integrity fees included in the NJ sports betting law.
Next steps for NJ sports betting
At long last, the next steps are the final steps.
The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement is now authorized to issue emergency regulations for up to 270 days. Once published, existing Atlantic City casinos will be able to apply for a transactional waiver to commence sports betting.
Tracks may have to wait an extra heartbeat, depending on the DGE’s pace. The NJ Racing Commission is involved in the process, and it needs to adopt the temporary regulations first. Once it does (and the governor signs off), tracks can apply for the same transactional waiver. The commission is scheduled to review the regulations on Wednesday.
If all goes according to plan, Monmouth Park will be the first NJ venue to accept a legal wager on Thursday. According to Press of AC, Gov. Murphy will be on hand to place the state’s inaugural bet.
Sen. Ray Lesniak, one of the leading proponents of NJ sports betting for the last decade, will also be in attendance.
Third place isn’t so bad
New Jersey is set to become the third state to offer single-game sports betting, joining Nevada and Delaware.
Nevada sports betting has been around for 70 years, of course, enjoying what amounted to a legal monopoly under PASPA. Thanks to SCOTUS, however, the other 49 are now allowed to join the industry if they wish.
Last week, Delaware became the second state (and the first since repeal) to enter the market. Delaware sports betting is now live at the state’s three casinos, beating NJ to the punch by a week or so.
Expect this group of legal states to keep growing throughout the remainder of the year.
Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia also have legal sports betting pending regulation, so they’ll probably be the next dominos to fall. The application process for PA sports betting is already open, for that matter.
New York sports betting is approved for the four upstate casinos, and lawmakers are trying to pass broader legislation before the session expires this month. Even if they don’t, regulators may move forward under the existing law. Connecticut and Rhode Island sports betting could also become reality this year with a bit more work.
New Jersey desperately wishes it could have beaten Delaware into market, but third place is still plenty of cause for celebration. The two new sports betting states are off with a good head start over their other neighbors.