New Jersey Legislature Hopes To Move Quickly On Sports Betting Regulations

Written By Marco Cerino on May 15, 2018

With the US Supreme Court giving the green light to New Jersey sports betting on Monday, all eyes turned to the state Legislature.

While waiting on the Supreme Court decision, New Jersey proactively prepared for a ruling by scheduling discussions of a regulatory bill. And a new bill cropped up in the NJ Senate on Monday.

NJ sports betting bill in the spotlight

Six members of the state’s Assembly co-sponsored a bill (A3911) introduced May 7 to authorize wagering on certain sporting events at casinos and racetracks. It includes many new provisions and alters existing legislation.

The bill has been assigned to the Assembly’s Tourism, Gaming, and the Arts Committee, chaired by Ralph R. Caputo (D-Essex), one of the bill’s sponsors. First, the legislation will be reviewed by the body’s majority leadership. Considering all main bill sponsors are Democrats and members of the majority party, it will likely be recommended to the committee.

Once Caputo’s committee receives the bill, they’ll schedule it for discussion. The first available date looks to be Thursday, June 7.

Questions still to answer

It remains unclear what effect this could have on offerings at the state’s new sportsbooks. The NJ sports betting legislation could allow betting as soon as June, although Monmouth Park has said it hopes to be up and running by Memorial Day.

On the Senate side, Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney, who represents the same South Jersey district as A3911 co-sponsor John Burzichelli, has introduced his own legislation on the topic.

With the Supreme Court decision and now talk of Congress considering legislation to replace PASPA, the New Jersey Legislature may try to expedite the bills and have it passed before its summer recess begins in July. Sources tell PlayNJ that the Assembly bill might bypass the appropriations committee, which is part of normal procedure.

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What the sports betting regulations include

The NJ sports betting bill as introduced bars wagering on any college and high school teams based in New Jersey and single-game events in the state. However, it doesn’t block action on interstate tournament games played in New Jersey, such as the NCAA basketball tournament.

The new legislation also has a provision to allow the sites of former race tracks to host sportsbooks.

That opens the door to establish ones in places such as Cherry Hill’s Garden State Pavilions, a large shopping plaza built on the former Garden State racetrack. Such an establishment could be very active with its proximity to Philadelphia.

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Marco Cerino

Marco is a freelance writer based in South Jersey. A 2007 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and a 2017 graduate from the Masters program at Temple University, he's worked in sports at the minor and major league levels. He now covers the NJ online gambling industry.

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