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New Jersey Lawmakers Pass Sports Betting Bill

Legislation Is Now On Governor's Desk For Signature

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New Jersey missed a huge opportunity to be the first state to kick off full-scale sports betting after the Supreme Court’s mid-May ruling, so lawmakers were in a scramble early this month to pass legislation.

The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday sent sports betting legislation to the Senate, where it also quickly passed. The bill then moved to the governor’s desk. New Jersey failed for a handful of years trying to circumvent federal law that banned sports books outside of Nevada, but it eventually found success with the highest court in the land.

There’s no guarantee the governor will sign the bill in its current form, but a veto appears unlikely at this stage in the process for the Garden State.

Despite years of efforts for sport betting, state officials dragged their feet, making it possible for Delaware to garner headlines this week as the first state to take advantage of the new legal environment. To be fair to the Garden State, Delaware was already offering parlay wagers on NFL games, so the switch to traditional sports betting wasn’t too difficult.

Assembly lawmakers unanimously approved the legislation 73-0, while the Senate passed it 37-0. Not a single Garden State lawmaker objected to the final version.

Under the new law, New Jersey gambling facilities could accept bets on college and professional sports, but not high school. Bettors must be at least 21 years of age.

The legislation would also allow bets to be placed over the internet.

“Wagers on a sports event could be placed in-person in a sports wagering lounge located at a casino or racetrack,” said a New Jersey synopsis of the bill.

“An operator may also accept wagers by means of the Internet, including from persons who are not physically present in this State if the division determines that such wagering is not inconsistent with federal law or the law of the jurisdiction, including any foreign nation, in which any such person is located, or such wagering is conducted pursuant to a reciprocal agreement to which the State is a party that is not inconsistent with federal law.”

Under the bill, in-person sports wagering revenue will be taxed at 8.5 percent, while operator winnings over the internet will be subjected to a 13 percent tax.

The U.S. sports betting market is expected to reach $4b-$6b within the next five years.