NJ Governor Phil Murphy Signs Sports Betting Bill into Law

NJ Governor Phil Murphy Signs Sports Betting Bill into Law

On Monday, June 11th, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed off on legislation allowing sports betting to take place at racetracks and casinos across the state. The bill, known as AB 4111, passed both the General Assembly and the Senate last Thursday, and after adding his seal of approval to the sports betting legislation this week, Gov. Murphy stated:

“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. This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy.”

Assembly Bill 4111

According to the legislation, New Jersey’s licensed casinos and racetracks can apply for waivers to start accepting sports bets, but in the meantime will be allowed to offer a sports pool at temporary facilities until construction is completed on official sports wagering lounges. In addition, these businesses will be permitted to apply to operate an online sports pool 30 days after the bill’s passing into law.

In terms of the punters permitted to place wagers on sports events, they are required to be at least 21 years old, and have no influence regarding the sporting events bet upon, naturally excluding athletes, coaches, and referees from placing wagers on sporting events in the league in which they compete. Furthermore, wagers will not be permitted on high school or college sporting events taking place in the Garden State, or any games involving New Jersey teams.

Monmouth Park Impatient

Monmouth Park Racetrack has had a sports wagering partnership in place with William Hill since 2013, and was eager to quickly start accepting bets following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down PASPA in May. Over the past month, however, delays have caused Monmouth Park to miss out on the opportunity to accepts bets on a number of high profile sporting events, including the NBA Finals, Belmont Stakes, and the Mets vs. Yankees Subway Series.

With the FIFA World Cup kicking-off on Thursday, the venue subsequently threatened to plow forward without the governor’s official signature, inducing a firm warning from Racing Commission Director Frank Zanzuccki that anyone taking such action would “jeopardize its ability to become licensed to offer sports betting.”

Early Adopters

Needless to say, Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport will be one of the first venues out of the block, and is slated to start taking legal bets on Thursday at 10:30 am. Looking forward to the milestone event, Dennis Drazin, CEO of Darby Development, the company which operates Monmouth Park, stated:

“I look forward to the governor joining us at Monmouth Park Racetrack on Thursday morning to usher in a new era for New Jersey by placing the first bet.”

Meanwhile, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City is also expected to follow suit on the same day, with a statement from the business saying that it was “moving ahead with all possible speed.” In time, however, all of the state’s nine casinos and three racetracks are expected to take advantage of the new sports betting legislation.

The Golden Nugget casino won’t be able to accept wagers on basketball matches, though, as its owner, Tilman Fertitta, is also the owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Nevertheless, the casino said that it would be ready to take bets on other sporting events by the time start of the football season in September.

Seven Year Legal Battle

New Jersey’s won its legal challenge to the country’s federal sports betting ban following seven years of court battles in which it was opposed by major sports leagues, such as the NCAA and NFL, and ran up around $9 million in fees. Nevertheless, New Jersey’s hard fought efforts have smoothed the way for all 50 states to pass sports betting laws within their own borders, with industry experts expecting the majority to eventually do so in time. Meanwhile, New Jersey is anticipating staying at the forefront of the industry, and as Senate President Steve Sweeney explained in a recent statement:

“We led the fight for sports betting and it is now happening. We will see sports betting get up and running and we intend to see that New Jersey continues to be a leader with a sports gaming industry that thrives. Our efforts will pay off.”