On June 7, 2018, the New Jersey Legislature unanimously approved a measure to legalize sports betting throughout the state. The vote came just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court sided with New Jersey in the state’s seven-year battle to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and legalize sports wagering.

New Jersey Legalizes Sports Wagering

The bill, S2602/A4111, authorizes people age 21 and over to place wagers on sports games in New Jersey casinos and racetracks, as well as online. Wagering on any collegiate sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey or on a sport or athletic event in which any New Jersey college team participates would be prohibited, regardless of where the event takes place.  

As more fully detailed in a prior post, the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the New Jersey Racing Commission will have responsibility for licensing and will promulgate regulations for the conduct and operation of the sports wagering activities. 

Amendments Reflected in Final Sports Betting Law 

The final law contains several key changes. Notably, the Legislature removed a provision that would have penalized anyone who accepted sports wagers before the regulatory framework is in place. Also, the final bill no longer includes a provision that bans a New Jersey business from opening a sports book if its owners hold a 10 percent stake or greater in a professional sports team. The prohibition would have directly affected the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, whose owner, Tilman Fertitta, also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets.

The final version of S2602/A4111 also includes a revised tax structure. It provides:

  • For casinos, the tax rate on sports wagering will be 8.5 percent, except that the tax rate will be 13 percent for Internet wagering, paid to the Casino Revenue Fund;
  • For racetracks, the tax rate on sports wagering will be 8.5 percent, except that the tax rate will be 13 percent for Internet wagering, paid to the State General Fund;
  • The 1.25 percent tax on amounts received by racetracks from a sports wagering operation will be calculated based on the amount received less the amount paid out as winnings and will be paid to the Division of Local Government Services to be distributed, upon application, to a municipality or county in which a racetrack is located to be used for economic development purposes.

When Can Sports Books Accept Bets?

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill on June 11, 2018. Governor Murphy stated that “Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey.” He further stated that “I'm thrilled to sign Assembly Bill 4111 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.”

Monmouth Park is scheduled to begin accepting sports bets on Thursday, June 14 at 10:30 a.m. The estimated State tax revenues that could be generated from sports betting are projected to range between $12 million and $17 million in the first full year of operation. For businesses looking to enter New Jersey’s legal sports betting industry, we encourage you to work with a knowledgeable New Jersey business attorney who can help you navigate the state’s regulatory structure, while maximizing your profits.