If And When Gov. Murphy Signs Measure Into Law, Casinos And Race Tracks Will Scramble To Get Up And Running

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — 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 CBS2 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, 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, CBS2’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.

“Today is the day that New Jersey gets the same benefits that Las Vegas does,” he said. “During the Super Bowl or the NACC Tournament, in Las Vegas you can’t get a hotel room and Atlantic City is a ghost town. This will change that.”

Three of the professional sports leagues were not happy over the lack of “integrity fee” payments they say would help them police betting patterns and called for better information sharing. In a joint statement, Major League Baseball, the NBA and the PGA Golf Tournament called on Murphy to “fix” the bill before acting on it.

“The legislation does not include basic protections to mitigate risks to the integrity of sports and to ensure fairness for New Jersey consumers,” they said. “The bill allows for the creation of non-transparent betting markets that deny sports leagues critical tools to monitor betting activity and conduct integrity investigations. Additionally, the bill does not require casinos or the regulator to notify sports leagues of potential match fixing or other improper conduct.”

The bill would allow Atlantic City casinos and racetracks, including Monmouth, the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway, to offer sports betting. A provision also would allow it at the former Atlantic City Race Course if that facility were to reopen.

The bill sets the tax rate for casinos at 8.5 percent, with an additional 1.25 percent payment to help market Atlantic City. The 1.25 percent add-on fee for tracks would be split among the host community and the county in which the track operates. Internet bets would be taxed at 13 percent.

Internet betting would begin 30 days after the rest of the law takes effect.

The bill also clears away obstacles for any of Atlantic City’s casinos to offer sports betting, adding clauses to allow the Borgata, Caesars, Harrah’s, Bally’s and the Golden Nugget to offer sports bets despite ownership or partial ownership of professional sports teams.

A last-minute change allowed the Golden Nugget to take sports bets, despite the fact that its owner, Texas Billionaire Tilman Fertitta, also owns the NBA’s Houston Rockets. The bill previously shut the Golden Nugget out of sports betting, but a change allowed it to offer bets on sports other than basketball.

Fertitta thanked New Jersey for making the change and said he eventually hopes to convince state regulators to let the Golden Nugget take bets on basketball teams other than the Rockets, as Nevada regulators allow.

New York might not be too far behind New Jersey, Overmyer reported. A similar bill was introduced Monday.

New York legislators will try to pass the bill before a scheduled adjournment on June 20. That gives them just a week and a half to iron out the details.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)