Houghtaling and Downey Bill Authorizing Sports Betting Now Law

Legislation sponsored by Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey authorizing casinos in Atlantic City and racetracks to conduct wagering on professional and collegiate sport or athletic events was signed into law by Gov. Murphy on Monday.

The bill (A-4111) was approved 73-0 by the General Assembly and 37-0 by the Senate on June 7.

“This is about fairness, freedom, job creation and economic development,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling. "Places like Monmouth Park and Freehold Racetrack have been left in the dark for far too long. Finally, this will no longer be the case.”

Under the bill, adults 21 years of age or older will be allowed to place wagers in-person at a sports wagering lounge located at a casino or racetrack or via the internet.

According to the bill, the Division of Gaming Enforcement will have responsibility for licensing and will promulgate sports gaming regulations and the New Jersey Racing Commission would be involved in approving the operation of a sports pool at a racetrack and any agreement between a casino and a racetrack to jointly operate a sports pool.

“There will be ample benefits to legal sports wagering in New Jersey,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “We will bring many jobs to Monmouth County, we will modernize our gaming industry, we will increase tourism, and we will be able to increase revenue for our state budget, and subsequently pay for vital programs which help our families.” 

The bill comes following the United States Supreme Court Decision of Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), in which New Jersey took the NCAA to court to challenge the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which had banned state-authorized sports gambling with the exception of Nevada. The Supreme Court voted on May 14 by a 6-3 decision to strike down the ban, thereby legalizing sports betting and paving the way for this bill.

Under the bill, sports wagering gross revenue accumulated by a casino or racetrack will be subject to an 8.5 percent tax, while the tax rate applicable to online sports gross revenue will be 13 percent. These funds will be paid to the Casino Revenue Fund and the investment alternative tax, which funds will be used exclusively for tourism and marketing for the city of Atlantic City.

The sums actually received by the horse racing permit holder from any sports wagering operation, either established with a casino or established independently or with non-casino partners, less only the total of all sums actually paid out as winnings to patrons, will be subject to an 8.5 percent, while internet wagering on sports events will be subject to a 13 percent tax, to be collected by the division and paid to the State General Fund and to an additional tax of 1.25 percent on amounts actually received from a sports wagering operation paid to the Division of Local Government Services to be distributed, upon application, to a municipality or county in which a racetrack is located or to an economic development authority for that municipality and county.

The bill was moved out of the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee on June 4.

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