NJ Gov Christie Signs Law That Lifts Sports Betting Ban in the Garden State

Last October 17, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed Senate Bill 2460, which in effect lifts the state’s prohibition against sports betting and therefore allows casino and racetrack operators to offer sports wagering products within the Garden State. Governor Christie believes that he and all other supporters of the move to introduce sports betting as an industry in NJ, have found the right path for the state’s bipartisan legislative endeavor.

SB-2460 was passed last October 14, after garnering votes of 27-1 in the New Jersey Senate and 73-4 in the state’s General Assembly. Apparently, majority of the lawmakers agree that the legislation presents a means for correcting the decisive defects in the state’s existing sport wagering bill. Primarily SB 2460 aims to repeal in part, the previously enacted Sports Wagering Act that bans betting activities involving professional and collegiate sport and athletic competitions. The repeal, or the resulting lifting of ban against sports wagering however, applies only to a casino or licensed gambling establishment located in Atlantic City, and harness-horse racetracks located within the State.

It also contains a statement that the repeal applies to sports wagering activities on professional or amateur sport or athletic competitions if performed by individual 21 years of age or older, and in the specified locations in New Jersey. It is also important that the operator of the casino, gambling house or racetrack agree to the placement and acceptance of sports wagering within its venue. The bill clearly excludes collegiate sports competitions or athletic meets held in New Jersey or any sport event in which a New Jersey sport or athletic team is a participant, regardless of the location in which the competition is held.

A “Statement” accompanying the enacted SB2460 furnishes information that the bill’s implementation is in line with the pronouncement of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District regarding the court’s decision in the case filed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association against the Governor of New Jersey.

The brief stated that the court’s interpretation of the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) is that, it does not prohibit the State of New Jersey from revoking its prohibition against sports wagering.

The court explained further that each state has the prerogative to decide the extent and the form of law enforcement priority it wishes to implement in its jurisdiction. In the brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Third District Court of Appeals explained that the sports wagering prohibition act was enacted by the State prior to PASPA’s enactment. PASPA’s mandate though does not include obligating New Jersey to leave in place the already existing state law that prohibits sports wagering. In summarizing its brief, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District wrote, “New Jersey is free to repeal those prohibitions in whole or in part.”

Immediately after Governor Christie’s official enactment of SB 2460 last Friday, the Monmouth Park Racetrack came out with an announcement that the racetrack will commence with its sports wagering offers and transactional operations on Sunday October 26, 2014. William Hill’s U.S. Division is the official sports book and betting technology provider for Monmouth Park Racetrack.

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