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State lawmakers voted yesterday to establish a set of regulations for legalized sports gambling, just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a federal law that had been keeping states like New Jersey on the sidelines for decades.
The only question now is how quickly Gov. Phil Murphy can sign the legislation to allow the state’s first legal sports bets to be made.
Under a bill that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate, those bets would be allowed to take place at casinos in Atlantic City, and at horsetracks in New Jersey. Bets could also be made online, but only if the servers for those operations are located at a casino or racetrack.
Sponsors praised the bill yesterday, saying it provides a much-needed shot-in-the-arm for Atlantic City and the state’s horseracing industry. daftar poker The state will levy a tax rate of 8.5 percent on in-person gambling, and another 1.25 percent tax to benefit Atlantic City and the host communities of the racetracks. The tax rate will be 13 percent for online bets, plus the 1.25 percent surcharge. The Legislature’s initial revenue projection for sports betting assumes up to $17 million in annual revenue in the first year.
“This will bring jobs to our state and help put an end to illegal wagering,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli D-Gloucester. “I can’t hide my excitement for what’s in store.”
When will governor act?
Murphy, a Democrat, previously has said he supports legalized sports betting in New Jersey, but it’s unclear how quickly he will act; it could be at least several days before his legal staff completes a full review of the bill.
The measure won praise from Atlantic City officials yesterday, and the chief executive of Monmouth Park said he could be ready to go within hours of the governor taking action, as major sporting events like the finals for the National Basketball Association are already underway this month. But representatives for the NBA, Major League Baseball and the Professional Golfers’ Association are questioning whether the bill contains enough precautions to protect against match fixing and other abuses.
The push to legalize sports gambling in New Jersey goes back nearly a decade, and in 2011 voters here approved by a 2-1 margin a referendum seeking to allow betting on all professional sports and on collegiate games played outside the state. The following year, then Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation sponsored by former Sen. Ray Lesniak D-Union that established sports gambling at Atlantic City casinos and at horserace tracks, a direct challenge to a 1992 federal law that only allowed sports betting in Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon.