Houghtaling and Downey Introduce Bill to Allow Sports Betting

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey recently introduced a bill that would allow casinos in Atlantic City and racetracks, including former racetracks, in this State to conduct wagering on professional and collegiate sport or athletic events.

“Considering the popularity of professional and collegiate sports, as well as the myriad of other gambling opportunities offered throughout the state, allowing sports betting in our Atlantic City casinos and racetracks is a natural next step for New Jersey,” said Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling.

“If the Supreme Court rules in favor of allowing sports betting, we will be prepared here in New Jersey where our casinos and racetracks play an integral role in our economy. Here in Monmouth County, the Monmouth Racetrack and Freehold Raceway would see a resurgence of attendance as a direct result of this bill, benefitting our local economy and producing more jobs,” said Assemblywoman Downey.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement would regulate the operation of sports wagering. A casino or racetrack may establish a sports wagering lounge independently at the casino or racetrack, or as a partnership between a casino and a racetrack, or may authorize a casino service industry enterprise to operate a sports pool on its behalf.

Wagering on sports events will not include wagering on a prohibited sports event. A prohibited sports event is any collegiate sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey or a sport or athletic event in which any New Jersey college team participates regardless of where the event takes place. However, a prohibited sports event does not include other games of a collegiate sport or athletic tournament in which a New Jersey college team participates, nor does it include any games of a collegiate tournament that occurs outside New Jersey even though some of the individual games or events are held in New Jersey. A prohibited sports event includes all high school sports events but does not include international sports events in which persons under age 18 make up a minority of the participants.

Wagers on a sports event could be placed in-person in a sports wagering lounge located at a casino or racetrack or via the Internet. Persons placing wagers must be at least 21 years of age.

The bill also provides that any person whose name appears on a casino exclusion list or any self-exclusion list of a casino or racetrack would not be permitted to engage in sports wagering.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement will have responsibility for licensing and will promulgate regulations for the conduct and operation of the sports wagering activities. The New Jersey Racing Commission would also 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. Persons engaged in wagering activities for a casino or racetrack will be either licensed as casino key employees or registered as casino employees.

Under the bill, sports wagering gross revenue realized by a casino or a racetrack will be subject to an 8 percent tax. The tax rate applicable to online sports gross revenue will be 12.5 percent. The investment alternative tax will apply to online sports pool gross revenues of a casino, except that the investment tax rate will be 5 percent and the investment alternative will be 2.5 percent. The division will establish annual fees for the issuance or renewal of sports wagering permits. A sports wagering permit holder will also pay an annual fee to support compulsive gambling treatment programs.

The bill repeals 1, 2, and 4 of P.L.2014, c.62 (C.5:12A-7 through C.5:12A-9) which partially repealed certain provisions of a prior law that had authorized sports betting. It also repeals section 36 of P.L.2013, c.27 (C.5:12-95.33) which provides that Internet gambling at casinos will terminate after ten years.

get updates