New Jersey Sports Betting Status Update
Sports betting and New Jersey go together better than coffee and donuts, and when PASPA was overturned in May, many people looked to the Garden State to lead the pack that would offer sports betting in its casinos. I mean, it was New Jersey’s determination and never say die attitude that got PASPA overturned by SCOTUS in the first place. Unfortunately, they still have a few kinks to work out in their own legislature before they can officially get sports betting underway.
New Jersey has attempted to pass sports betting laws in the past, and they have always been shot down. Their focus in the past was on making sure that their state law did not come into conflict with the federal regulations in PASPA. Now that that is no longer the case, there are a few key issues that people want answered before politicians can come to an agreement on a complete bill.
The three main questions that lawmakers want answered before they legalize sports betting in New Jersey are as follows:
Will there be mobile and online sports betting?
Would inactive racetracks be able to come back to life and host their own sportsbooks?
Will casinos that have conflicting interests in ownership be allowed to operate their own sportsbooks?
Will the casinos be forced to pay the “integrity fee” that leagues are asking for?
The Senate, which is facing even more pressure from sports betting enthusiasts and casino owners now that Delaware has their sportsbooks up and running, put forward a bill on Monday that sought to answer each of these questions. Fortunately, legislators seem to be in agreement about the issues at hand. There were few changes made to the bill, and those made were easily agreed upon.
Active racetracks and tracks that have been active within the last 15 years will be eligible for licensure in order to open a sportsbook. Sports betting in New Jersey will take place at tracks and most casinos in the state.
Now, New Jersey’s Atlantic City is home to a great number of casinos, and quite a few conflicts of interest. Several of the largest casinos in AC are owned by the owners of professional sports teams or their management companies. Because of this, casinos like Caesar’s, the Golden Nugget, and the Borgata will not be able to have sports betting on their casino floors.
While the original draft of SB 2602 allowed for the immediate installation of mobile and online betting, an amendment was made Monday afternoon that requires sportsbooks to hold off on registering and licensing mobile betting until after the first 30 days of operation.
As for the matter of the “integrity fee” that the leagues – namely the NBA and the MLB – have asked for, New Jersey legislators have asked that casinos consider the matter on their own and that they listen to the suggestions of the leagues when it comes to monitoring suspicious betting behavior. Nothing within the current sports betting bills require New Jersey Casinos to pay the fee, though.
“My opinion is the leagues should offer their help for free,” Assemblyman Ralph Caputo said. The current copy of New Jersey’s sports betting legislation is shaping up to be the guide that many states interested in offering sports betting copy, especially when it comes to the issue of the so-called integrity fee.
While SB 2602’s focus was mainly targeted on resolving the big topic issues, it also answered some of the basic questions of sports betting in New Jersey. The Gaming Commission, which currently regulates the casinos and racetracks in the Garden State, would also be in charge of regulating the state’s sportsbooks. Residents and visitors to New Jersey would have to be 21 years or older to legally bet on sports in the state. Wagers will not be allowed to be placed on any events taking place within the state, nor would residents be able to wager on any teams based in New Jersey – both professional and collegiate.
These are the same basic regulations that rule over sports betting in any state. New Jersey sportsbooks are expected to offer lines on all professional sports, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, auto racing, and then some. They will also cover NCAA events, mainly football and basketball. High school events and other Amateur events are strictly off limits for bettors, as are political betting lines. These same restrictions are not applicable to online, offshore sports betting – they only apply to sportsbooks that are sponsored and licensed by the state of New Jersey.
SB 2602, along with an identical bill that was presented to the Assembly simultaneously, was given the floor for debate and then swiftly sent to committee. After quick review, the Assembly Gaming and Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriation Committee gave full approval of each bill. Both bills are expected to pass through full legislation in short order and be ready for the Governor’s signature as early as Friday morning.
If all goes as planned, and the bill is signed into law, casinos like Monmouth Park, which took a huge risk and started preparing for legal sports betting prior to SCOTUS’s May 2018 decision, could be able to offer sports betting as early as this weekend, making them the third state in the US to offer legal sports betting.
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