June 11, 2018

Bill to legalize sports betting passed by New Jersey lawmakers


On June 7, New Jersey lawmakers gave their final approval to a bill to legalize sports betting merely three weeks after winning the right to do so in a U.S. Supreme Court case.

At first, Assembly Bill 1441 was passed, and later an identical Senate Bill 2602 was passed.

Legislators hurried to pass the bill hoping to make New Jersey the second state outside Nevada to legalize sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on the wagers. On June 5, 2018, Delaware started accepting bets.

The Assembly passed the bill by a 73-0 vote, and the Senate later approved the bill, 37-0.

“We as a state have been the leaders in the nation of making this happen,” said Deputy Assembly Majority Leader Eric Houghtaling (D., Monmouth) before moving to vote on the bill. “It’s just wonderful the things that can be done here with this — strengthening the casinos that we have here in our state, strengthening the tracks that we have here in our state that are struggling, and all the jobs that go along with that.”

The legislation (S2602/A4111) establishes a framework for the licensing and operation of sports betting at the state’s casinos and racetracks and sets tax rates for bets placed in-person and online.

As per the bill, the tax rate for casinos was set at 8.5 percent, with an additional 1.25 percent payment to help market Atlantic City. The 1.25 percent add-on fee for tracks would be split among the host community and the county in which the track operates. Internet bets would be taxed at 13 percent.

Internet betting would begin 30 days after the rest of the law takes effect.

New Jersey’s bill passed unanimously in both the Senate and Assembly, to applause from legislators. Calling the measure “historic,” lawmakers lauded the benefit they expect sports betting to have for casinos and the state, and made nods to the years and millions spent getting there.

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