New Jersey Sports Betting
In March 2009, Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D – Union), the state legislature’s chief advocate for sports wagering and online betting, filed a lawsuit against the federal government to overturn the ban on sports betting, a necessary measure for a state referendum to take effect. On 8 February 2010, the New Jersey State Senate Committee on Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation approved a bill calling for a referendum on legalizing sports wagering. However, on 10 June 2010, the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee held off on considering the sports wagering bill.
In fall 2011, New Jersey voters passed a referendum that authorized the state to attempt to offer sports betting.
In January 2012, Governor Christie signed legislation allowing sports betting in New Jersey. The law permitted the state's 12 casinos and four racetracks to offer gambling on professional and college sports, but prohibited bets on college events played in New Jersey or on New Jersey college teams playing out-of-state games.
The NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB filed a federal lawsuit against New Jersey to prevent sports betting, based on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, which banned sports betting in all but four states. On 28 February 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp ruled in favor of the athletic associations. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld the lower court ruling. In June 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear New Jersey’s appeal.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear New Jersey’s appeal, the New Jersey Legislature passed legislation that would allow private companies to open up and operate sportsbooks in New Jersey’s casinos and horse tracks. The logic behind the legislation was that the lower courts and DOJ had indicated that New Jersey didn’t need to ban sports betting just because the federal government had.
In August 2014, Christie vetoed the legislation, saying the rule of law was “sacrosanct” and he didn’t want to violate the court’s ruling. In September, Christie changed his mind and issued a directive allowing the state’s horse tracks and casinos to offer sports betting. The directive said the companies offering sports betting would not be prosecuted or face civil liability. The directive also banned betting on teams that played in New Jersey (collegiate or pro) or collegiate events in New Jersey.
In August 2017, New Jersey governor Chris Christie signed into law bill S1927 authorizing daily fantasy sports. It allows players to deposit money into accounts and assemble virtual teams made up of real professional athletes. People under the age of 18 are forbidden from participation.
In May 2018, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, which deemed it unconstitutional. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey sports betting into law on 11 June, and three days later he placed the state's first legal sports bet when Monmouth Park racetrack opened its sportsbook, the same day that Borgata Casino in Atlantic City began accepting sports wagers.
In September 2019, New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks saw their combined handle more than triple from August 2018, the month online sports betting launched, making New Jersey the largest legal sports betting jurisdiction in the U.S. Online sports betting was responsible for $249.2 million in August bets, representing 85% of the state’s total handle.
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