New Jersey is preparing for sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and the state’s horse racing tracks, even though it is still being blocked by the federal government.

On Monday, the state published the final regulations for sports betting, allowing the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to begin accepting license applications from casinos and racetracks. Licenses could be issued starting Jan. 9.

“With the publication of these regulations, New Jersey ensures effective regulation and oversight of sports wagering, consistent with its long-standing nationwide reputation for maintaining integrity and instilling public confidence in gaming operations,” David Rebuck, the division’s director, said in a statement.

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Any casino or racetrack that wants to offer sports betting must apply for a “Sports Pool License” and pay a $50,000 fee. In addition, they would have to pay a $50,000 “resubmission fee” every five years to keep the license.

“In keeping with New Jersey’s responsibility to fight compulsive gambling, half of the license fees will go toward prevention, education and treatment programs for compulsive gamblers,” Rebuck said.

At this point, sports betting has been approved by New Jersey voters, but it is still not permitted. Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation in January that legalizes sports betting, but a federal ban must be overturned before wagering actually is allowed on professional and college games.

New Jersey’s law followed overwhelming voter approval last November of a ballot referendum to permit sports betting at Atlantic City’s 12 casinos and the state’s four horse racing tracks, including Atlantic City Race Course.

But first, New Jersey must wait for Congress or the courts to repeal a 1992 federal law that bans sports betting in all but Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. Those states had some form of sports betting on the books before the ban was enacted. New Jersey has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the ban, claiming it is unconstitutional.

Contact Donald Wittkowski:

609-272-7258

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