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New Jersey Casino Regulators Begin Application Process For Sports Books

State Officials Want Operators To Prepare For Law Change

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In anticipation of a favorable ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, the state of New Jersey is moving forward once again with a plan to put sports books in Atlantic City casinos.

Supreme Court Justices are currently mulling over whether the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which bans traditional sports betting outside of Nevada, is constitutional. New Jersey, home to a struggling casino industry, in the early 2010s began trying to circumvent PASPA. The sports leagues and the NCAA sued to block the move, and years later the casino industry is still patiently awaiting the ability to offer sports betting across the country.

The Supreme Court is expected to allow New Jersey, and every other state, to have sports betting, but the ruling against PASPA could come in a variety of ways.

In a statement to ESPN, New Jersey casino regulators are preparing for a favorable ruling in some way, shape or form. A decision by the high court is expected by mid-year.

“The Division of Gaming Enforcement recognizes it needs to be prepared to investigate and license businesses and individuals seeking to enter the New Jersey gaming market should the Supreme Court issue a favorable decision authorizing the state to legalize and regulate sports wagering,” said David Rebuck, director of the Division. “Under existing law, any business or individual anticipating entering into a commercial transaction with a casino must be licensed or approved by the Division. Many companies have inquired as to the State’s licensing requirements in the event they are able to engage in sports wagering operations with our casino industry. The Division has encouraged these companies to commence the application process.”

The Atlantic City gambling market was halved in the decade following the Great Recession, but over the last two years there have been signs of recovery. Still, the casinos would receive a much-needed shot in the arm with sports betting. Most recently in Nevada, gamblers there bet a record $158.5 million on the Super Bowl alone, a new record for the big game.

Nevada sports books generated $248.7 million in revenue from $4.8 billion worth of wagers in 2017, both of which were all-time highs for the state. If New Jersey casinos were able to generate the same revenue as the roughly 200 sports books in the Silver State, it would add about 10 percent to the existing gambling market in Atlantic City.