Sports betting is now legal in New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday signed legislation that allows wagering on professional and collegiate sports.
“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to sign [the legislation] 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. This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy.”
The legislation provides for a regulatory framework and allows expedited licensing. Bettors will have to be at least 21, and no wagers will be allowed on collegiate events taking place in New Jersey, or on teams from colleges based in the state, no matter where the competitions are held.
“New Jersey has led the way on sports betting and we will now capitalize on our decisive Supreme Court victory by putting in place a vibrant sports gaming industry,” Senate President Steve Sweeney said in a statement. “We can now seize the opportunity with a new sector of gaming that will help create jobs, generate economic growth and be an important boost to the casino industry and horse racing.”
Atlantic City casinos, along with other racetracks around the state, also are preparing to begin taking bets quickly, both in-person and online, as soon as their sports betting rooms are prepared.
It was not immediately clear as to when they will start taking bets. Monmouth Park has retained London-based William Hill Race and Sports Book, one of the world’s largest sports betting operations. It has said that it already has assigned 50 employees to Monmouth Park in anticipation of accepting sports bets. It is expected that two other major overseas sports betting operations—Ladbroke and bet365.com—will soon move to open operations in the state.
The Legislature’s actions comes less than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1992 federal law that had prohibited most states from licensing sports betting. New Jersey voters already had approved sports wagering by referendum vote years earlier, though the NCAA and professional sports leagues sued to block thstate’s implementation of the law.
They were successful until the court’s decision last May 14. By a 6-3 vote in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, the justices found that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, infringed on state sovereignty in violation of the Tenth Amendment and amounted to “commandeering” states to do the federal government’s bidding.