New Jersey Legislature Passes Sports Gambling Bill

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By Leslie A. Pappas

The New Jersey Legislature has moved the state one step closer to launching full-scale sports betting.

Both the Assembly and the Senate passed the sports-betting legislation unanimously June 7.

“New Jersey has led the way on sports betting and we will now capitalize on our decisive Supreme Court victory by putting in place a vibrant sports gaming industry,” Sen. Steve Sweeney (D), one of the sponsors of the legislation, said in a statement after the bills passed.

The bill now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who is expected to sign it. If Murphy signs the bill immediately June 8, the state could technically offer temporary betting licenses and take bets June 9. However, the bill sets a 30-day delay for online bets in order to set regulations.

The fast-tracked legislation comes after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Garden State’s favor May 14 in Murphy v. NCAA , repealing the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) and paving the way for states to authorize gambling related to professional and amateur sports.

Delaware was the first state to offer legal sports bets after the decision. The state’s three casinos received $332,135 in wagers on June 5, the first day of full-scale betting.

$12-17 Million in Revenue

In New Jersey, S. 2602/ A. 4111 would would levy an 8.5 percent gross revenue tax on in-person wagering and a 13 percent levy on online sports bets. The tax is applied to the operator’s gross revenue—the amounts wagered minus the amounts paid out as prizes.

An additional 1.25 percent tax on gaming revenue received by racetracks would be distributed to the host municipalities and counties by the state’s Division of Local Government Services. The same 1.25 percent surcharge on casinos would go to the Casino Redevelopment Authority to promote tourism and economic development in the Atlantic City area.

State tax revenue from sports betting in New Jersey could range from $12 million to $17 million in the first full year of operation, the bills sponsors said.

For casinos, the tax would be paid to the Casino Revenue Fund, and for racetracks, the tax would be paid to the general fund.

Betting would be prohibited on collegiate athletic events taking place in New Jersey and on any sports event that includes a New Jersey college, regardless of where it takes place, the bills sponsors said.

The bills were sponsored by Democratic Sens. Sweeney, Jeff Van Drew, and Vin Gopal and Assembly Democrats Eric Houghtaling, John Burzichelli, Joann Downey, Ralph Caputo, and Raj Mukherji.

States on Move

Under Delaware’s system, half of the revenue from sports betting at casinos is distributed to the general fund, 40 percent goes to agents, and 10 percent goes to supplement purses offered at Delaware’s racetracks.

Eighteen other proposals are currently active in six states, according to the American Gaming Association.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Philadelphia at lpappas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ryan C. Tuck at rtuck@bloombergtax.com

For More Information

Text of the bill is at http://src.bna.com/zq8.

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