The days of bookies and the underground gambling world continue getting closer to becoming things of the past. In the Soprano State itself, places like Atlantic City and Monmouth Park can bet on increased revenue opportunities from sports.
Following a Supreme Court ruling that allows sports betting, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law yesterday that will make it legal at racetracks, casinos and online to wager on sporting events starting Thursday. New Jersey becomes the second state to legalize sports betting after the court decision from last month, following its neighbor, Delaware.
“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement. He signed the bill “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,” adding that “this is the right move for New Jersey, and it will strengthen our economy.”
The first-year governor signed the bill Monday afternoon after hesitation. The New Jersey Racing Commission will hold a meeting to review regulations related to the establishment of sports betting at New Jersey racetracks before the law has any real application. Murphy can ratify the decision once the commission comes up with regulations. Murphy plans to place the first official bet, which will be possible in part by the fact that racetracks can apply for temporary waivers so they can immediately take bets starting Thursday.
Monmouth Park in particular has high hopes for the new market and is already prepared for the supply of gamblers. The racetrack had been trying for years to get sports betting legalized in the state and even teamed up with British bookmaker William Hill to create a new sportsbook gambling area that will finally get to be unveiled this Thursday.
The Atlantic City casinos will all offer sports betting, with Borgata ready to roll out operations before the rest of the casinos. Borgata is the only remaining Atlantic City casino to offer horse betting.
In 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which effectively banned sports betting nationwide. Provisions allowed some states to be grandfathered in, which is why Las Vegas has been able to offer sports betting. New Jersey failed to take advantage of the opportunity, and the window eventually closed.
Sports betting is expected to bring in $13 million in revenue for the state in its first full year. Gambling will be allowed on all professional and collegiate sports except for collegiate games involving New Jersey institutions and/or collegiate events happening in the state.
The law comes on the heels of summer, when even more people will flock to the beaches, where Monmouth Park and Atlantic City are. After Atlantic City hit hard times a few years ago, two new resorts are opening and could try cashing in on this opportunity.
By: Sanford Clemons
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