New Jersey Senate Bill Slowing Down Sports Betting Adoption

Just a few weeks ago, Monmouth Park – in partnership with bookmaking company William Hill – announced that, thanks to the dismantling of PASPA by the Supreme Court, they would offer sports betting in the state by Memorial Day. Of course, it’s the day after Memorial Day, and there’s still no sign of any publicly-facing legal sports betting outlets at Monmouth Park or in the state of NJ in general. This is thanks to a New Jersey Senate bill that’s slowing down sports betting adoption.

The bill, SB 2602, was passed on May 14, 2018, in anticipation of PASPA’s overturn, but it was only recently published online, and it includes this qualifier:

“No license to operate a sports pool shall be issued by the racing commission to any entity which is disqualified under the criteria of section 86 of P.L.1977…or to any person that operated a sports pool within one year prior to the enactment of this act.”

Because Monmouth Park would have been operating their books before the NJ state legislature had adequate time to craft fixed, comprehensive guidelines, the above means that, had they gone ahead and offered sports betting before the state was “ready,” they would forfeit forever their right to offer sports betting in the future.

The same, of course, applies to all gambling spots in NJ, though it is surprising that a state so vested in this issue (and that had been fighting it for so long at the federal level) wouldn’t have had a comprehensive set of bills ready to go the second the other shoe dropped on PASPA.

SB 2602 is expected to be sent to NJ governor Phil Murphy for his signature immediately after its June 7 senate vote, and – for its part – the management at Monmouth Park has been gracious with this little speedbump. Dennis Drazin, an executive with the famous racino, said simply that “We will certainly abide by the senate president’s directions.”

Nevertheless, the facilities inside Monmouth Park have been rapidly renovated to allow William Hill operations on the premises, and many modifications are ongoing as the site waits for the latest revised laws to be passed and signed for sports betting in New Jersey. Drazin reckons that Monmouth Park will see 5000-10,000 sports bettors line up on opening day sometime within the next two to three weeks.

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