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What you need to know about sports betting in NJ

Nicholas Pugliese, NorthJersey Published 6:57 a.m. ET May 29, 2018 | Updated 12:43 p.m. ET May 29, 2018

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Supreme Court struck down a down ban on sports betting on Monday, May 14, 2018.

New Jersey triumphed earlier this month in its seven-year legal battle to overturn a 1992 federal prohibition on sports wagering, and now lawmakers are rushing to make New Jersey the first state besides Nevada to start taking bets. 

Here’s what you can expect in the weeks ahead.

When can I start placing bets?

Lawmakers are aiming for June 7 passage of a bill to regulate and tax the industry. Gov. Phil Murphy could then sign it into law within days, if not hours, officially opening the era of legal sports betting in New Jersey.

Why the delay?

The William Hill sports bar, designed like a Nevada sports book, opened in 2014 at Monmouth Park. It is expected to be one of the first venues outside of Nevada to take sports bets.Buy Photo

The William Hill sports bar, designed like a Nevada sports book, opened in 2014 at Monmouth Park. It is expected to be one of the first venues outside of Nevada to take sports bets. (Photo: Kevin R. Wexler/northjersey.com)

Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on May 14 that states could legalize sports betting, Monmouth Park announced it would be ready to accept bets by Memorial Day.

But lawmakers told the racetrack to wait until they could agree on regulations, including how much to tax betting revenues and whether to restrict casino operators who also own sports franchises from offering some wagers.

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How much will the state make?

New Jersey is estimated to take in $13 million from taxing sports betting in the coming fiscal year, Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio told lawmakers this week. That’s assuming total revenues of $124 million and a tax rate between 8 percent and 15 percent.

Muoio’s estimate is in line with a 2017 report from the American Gaming Association, which predicted sports betting in New Jersey could eventually generate between $15 million and $84 million in annual tax revenue based on how it is taxed and how widely available it becomes.

Is that enough to solve the state’s fiscal woes?

No. Those figures are a mere fraction of Murphy’s proposed $37.4 billion budget. 

Part of the problem is that the Supreme Court decision permits sports betting in all states, not just New Jersey, watering down how much any one state is likely to earn.

“We’re not going to get the windfall that we all were hoping for,” Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, said earlier this month.

Where can I bet?

Racetracks will be among the New Jersey sites that can offer sports betting.

Racetracks will be among the New Jersey sites that can offer sports betting. (Photo: AP Photo/Equi-Photo, Bill Denver)

Lawmakers are considering allowing bets at casinos, racetracks and former racetracks, as well as online.

Besides Monmouth Park, the Borgata in Atlantic City has said it will be ready to take bets on the first day the state allows it. 

The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford is seeking to start taking sports bets by the start of the next football season.

What’s the big deal with ‘integrity fees’?

The National Basketball Association has said it should get a cut of betting proceeds in the form of so-called “integrity fees” to be used for bet monitoring, investigations and education. 

The National Football League, meanwhile, wants Congress to pass legislation regulating sports betting, which could include a requirement that leagues receive such payments.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver supports the legalization of sports betting, if the gambling is regulated on the federal level.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver supports the legalization of sports betting, if the gambling is regulated on the federal level. (Photo: Mary Altaffer/AP)

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, is adamantly against the fees, which he has called a hypocritical “extortion attempt” by league owners after years of fighting New Jersey in court. Sweeney sent letters to leaders in all 50 states urging them to resist giving a cut of proceeds to the leagues, pointing out that Nevada has never done so.

“We’re not giving the leagues any money,” Sweeney said in an interview this week. 

Email: pugliese@northjersey.com

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