TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – It’s a waiting game in New Jersey as the Supreme Court considers legalizing sports betting in the Garden State.
Gov. Phil Murphy says the state is prepared if the court gives the green light.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reports, sports betting in New Jersey would look something like horse betting at the Meadowlands clubhouse – where you pick your team and hand over the cash. Millions of people live within 50 miles of the complex, and legalization could mean big business.
“Getting additional foot traffic in here to see this beautiful facility. We built this $120 million facility, it opened back in November of 2013. And horse racing has struggled here in the Garden State,” said Jason Settlemoir, COO and general manager of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment.
Retired State Sen. Ray Lesniak helped frame sports betting legislation for New Jersey and brought the case all the way to the Supreme Court.
“Why shouldn’t New Jersey residents have the same benefits that Las Vegas does?” he said.
No one knows exactly when the court will rule. It could happen anytime between now and the June recess.
Lesniak estimates legalized sports betting will bring in hundreds of millions in tax revenue and thousands of jobs.
“Monmouth Racetrack is ready to go, they are geared up, they have their systems all in place,” he said.
Track officials said it could be ready two weeks after given the go. Other racetracks and casinos will follow.
“Timeline-wise and stuff like that, we should able to roll by the beginning of the football season,” Settlemoir said.
Baker asked whether people would have to be there in person or could place a bet over the phone.
“It depends. If they uphold my law, then it’s up to the casinos and racetracks to make their rules, and certainly they would do that,” said Lesniak. “If they just declare the sports betting ban unconstitutional, then it’s up to the Legislature to craft what that means and how to do it.”
Meaning the state would allow the racetracks and casinos to develop apps to place bets via your smartphone, but you would still need to be in New Jersey.
“I will place the first bet, and I’m going to bet on the Giants to win the Super Bowl,” Lesniak said.
He pointed out that one indirect benefit of sports betting will be tourism and hopefully the survival of Atlantic City casinos.