Monmouth Park Sports Betting

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

New Jersey Legislature Approves Legal Sports Betting

June 07, 2018 - 1:45 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880/AP) -- The New Jersey State Legislature on Thursday approved legislation that will allow for legal sports betting in the state.

The legislation passed unanimously in both the state Senate and Assembly, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported. Anyone 21 or older will soon be able to bet on sports in New Jersey.

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo Jr. (D-Belleville) believes New Jersey needs legal sports betting.

“This brings about a bolt in our economy that we need,” he said. “This will be recurring revenue that will happen from year to year.”

Bets will be taken on all games, except those involving New Jersey colleges or college games played in New Jersey.

The bill now goes to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk. But  state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Red Bank) said the bill was amended so sports betting can go ahead without Murphy’s signature.

“I was hoping the governor would sign the bill the moment it hit his desk, and that should have happened already. Because the governor; the administration was silent, we went ahead and amended the bill today – which was kind of under the radar – but as of right now, sports betting can start in New Jersey, and Monmouth Park is the place that’s ready,” he said. “We’re hoping they’ll open any day.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, everything is in place and ready to go at the Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport.

At the Monmouth Park racetrack, the betting machines have been installed. The 100-plus TVs have also been hung, and the odds are posted on video boards. The only thing missing now is bettors.

“We’ve been ready now since Memorial Day. I could take your bet now if we were legal,” said Dennis Drazin, chairman and chief executive officer of Monmouth Park.

Once Murphy signs the bill, Drazin will be all ready.

“The initial phase in the William Hill sports book that we currently have was a million and a half,” Drazin said. “Once the Supreme Court hearing came about December 4, and we spent another million and a half with William Hill out in our grandstand.”

Drazin feels this will be huge for the local economy and the horseracing business.

New Jersey lawmakers want to tax sports betting revenue won over the internet at a rate of 13 percent. A bill being considered by a state Assembly committee sets that rate on sports betting revenue won online.

Revenue won by casinos or racetracks in person would be taxed at 8 percent; an additional 1.25 reinvestment assessment would be imposed, as well.

The bill does not contain a so-called "integrity fee.'' The professional sports leagues are pushing for such a fee to help them police betting on their games.

New Jersey won a Supreme Court case last month overturning a federal law that limited sports betting to only four states. Individual states are now free to pass laws legalizing it, if they desire.

O’Scanlon told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott and Michael Wallace that concerns about people with gambling problems are valid, but he does not believe legalizing sports betting will enable gambling addictions.

“It’s one of the top concerns in the country now, about addiction, opioid addiction, et cetera. But here’s why I’m not particularly concerned here. Gambling is so accessible; illegal gambling is so accessible and so winked at throughout the world, but particularly in this country, that we’re not making it much more accessible,” he said. “We’re just making it more regulated and respectable, and bringing it out into the open, so I don’t really expect we’re going to have more people with gambling problems adding to those problems.”

Some estimate the handle in New Jersey will be worth $10 billion.