N.J. Lawmakers Pass Sports Betting Bill

TRENTON, N.J. NewYorkAP — The New Jersey Legislature left little doubt about it’s view on sports betting.

It wants it, badly.

Both the Assembly and Senate pitched shutouts on Thursday, passing the measure 73-0 and 37-0, respectively. The bill is now heading to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.

The governor would not signal whether he would sign the bill — or even when he might decide.

“Governor Murphy looks forward to closely reviewing the sports betting legislation that was recently passed by the Legislature,” said his spokesman, Dan Bryan. “The Governor has long been supportive of New Jersey’s right to allow sports betting and he wants to ensure that the proposed regulatory scheme is fair and reasonable.”

Sources tell 2 the bill is not expected to be signed this week.

Monmouth Park Racetrack has been particularly eager to begin taking bets Friday, hoping to cash in on large racing crowds over the weekend.

Once it becomes law, anyone 21 or over will be allowed to place bets in person and eventually online at casinos and racetracks in the state.

You will be able to bet on all professional sports — everything from the winner down to prop best, like who catches the first touchdown.

“I just turned 21, so I can finally do it,” Monmouth County resident Chris Ryan said. “Gonna lose a little bit of my paycheck.”

“Heard you could bet on anything, poker domino like you could bet on are they going to throw deep are they going to throw short? If it gets that nuanced it might change fantasy football. It might change how you watch TV,” West Long Branch resident Abe Maldonado said.

You will not be allowed to bet on high school sports, and college sports have a stipulation, 2’s Steve Overmyer reported. You will not be able to bet on any event with a New Jersey college, so no Rutgers football or Seton Hall basketball. However, if a game involving two schools from other states is played in New Jersey, it’s fair game. You can bet on March Madness games, if a New Jersey school isn’t in the dance.

Three weeks ago, New Jersey prevailed in a Supreme Court case that struck down a federal law limiting sports betting to just four states. Now, any state is free to adopt laws legalizing it, and analysts expect most to do so. A report this week by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming predicted that only six states will not have approved sports betting by 2023.

“I think it will increase revenue for the whole state,” Belmar resident Phil Cola said.

“I think it will boost business, bring a lot of new people to the area,” Oceanport resident Janet Cosengino added.

Former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, who led the fight for sports betting for eight years, predicted it will help turn around Atlantic City, where casino gambling had been in decline. The state’s casinos and racetracks would be able to offer sports betting once the governor signs the bill.

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