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Atlantic City Finally Kicks Off Sports Betting

Governor Places First Legal Wagers In State History


On Thursday, the state of New Jersey finally saw its first gambling facilities kick off regulated sports betting. It’s huge boost for struggling Atlantic City.

The Garden State challenged a decades-old federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court in mid-May ruled in favor of the state. It marked the end of a nearly decade-long saga. There was a scramble to pass new legislation in the wake of the historic SCOTUS ruling, and Thursday marked the successful implementation of the new law.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, placed the first legal bet in state history at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport. The racetrack kicked off bets around 10:30 a.m., followed closely by the Borgata in Atlantic City at 11 a.m. local time. Other casinos and racetracks are expected to follow in the coming days and weeks. Atlantic City will welcome the reopening of two of its casinos later this month, bringing its brick-and-stick casino count back up to nine.

Murphy, who was facing some criticism last week for not immediately signing the sports betting bill, bet $20 on Germany to win the World Cup and $20 on the New Jersey Devils to win the Stanley Cup next season.

Around 20 states have either passed a sports betting law or are considering it. Delaware, which had previously allowed limited sports betting in the form of NFL parlays, beat New Jersey to the punch by just a matter of days. New Jersey officials weren’t happy Delaware was first. Prior to the SCOTUS ruling, only the state of Nevada had full-scale sports betting.

While New Jersey officials are ecstatic that sports betting has finally arrived, the legal battle still isn’t over. According to ESPN, the major professional sports leagues are potentially on the hook for “millions of dollars” in damages stemming from their efforts to prevent New Jersey from launching sports betting. A court already ordered them to repay New Jersey $5,600 in court costs.

New Jersey spent nearly $10 million to get PASPA declared unconstitutional.

Here’s a look at some of the media coverage from yesterday’s historic event.