Anticipating a favorable U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sports betting, New Jersey lawmakers are already moving ahead with a plan to regulate and tax bets and winnings.

A bill introduced in the General Assembly, A3911, establishes the regulatory framework to license and operate sports betting at New Jersey’s casinos and racetracks. The bill regulates wagering on professional and collegiate sports either in-person or online.

No betting on any New Jersey college or high school athletic events would be allowed.

This prohibition excludes collegiate tournaments, such as the NCAA men’s basketball tournament that occur outside the state, even if some of the individual games are held in New Jersey.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement assumes the responsibility of issuing licenses and enforcing regulations.

The New Jersey Racing Commission would also be involved in approving the operation of a sports pool at a racetrack.

Under the bill, sports wagering revenue would be subject to an 8 percent tax. Online sports betting would be subject to a 12.5 percent tax.

Casinos and racetracks would be subject to an annual sports betting “integrity fee” which would be equal to the lesser of $7.5 million or 2.5 percent of their sports wagering revenue.

Investigations into the integrity of sports games on which wagers were placed would be funded by the fee.

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, D-Monmouth; Assemblywoman Joann Downey, D-Monmouth; and Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem, are the bill’s primary sponsors.

Houghtaling said sports betting could be a “great opportunity” for the state.

He added the bill was still a “work in progress” and that legislators would continue working with casinos and racetracks going forward.

“We are open to feedback and look forward to bringing the New Jersey gambling industry forward,” Houghtaling said in a news release.

Downey highlighted the “integral role” casinos and racetracks play in the state’s economy.

“Here in Monmouth County, the Monmouth Racetrack and Freehold Raceway would see a resurgence of attendance as a direct result of this bill, benefiting our local economy and producing more jobs,” Downey said in the same release.

The bill has not been posted to the state Legislature’s website yet, pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on New Jersey’s challenge to the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a federal law that prohibits sports betting in most states. Under current federal law, the only states where sports betting is legal are Nevada, Delaware, Montana and Oregon.

Nevada is the only state to allow single-game wagering.

If the federal sports betting ban is struck down, New Jersey is expected to generate more than $173 million in tax revenue and see the creation of more than 3,633 jobs, according to a report from Oxford Economics.

In Atlantic City, several of the resort’s casino-hotels are preparing for the high court to rule in New Jersey’s favor.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa reportedly has plans to build a $7 million sports book at the resort if the law is struck down.

Bruce Deifik, owner of the soon-to-be-opened Ocean Resort Casino, reportedly has plans to invest in a sports betting lounge if the court rules in New Jersey’s favor.

“Atlantic City is coming back with a vengeance and with the groundwork for the legalization of sports betting, we foresee a great opportunity to bring a state-of-the-art sports book to a city which caters to a large and diverse sports market,” Deifek said in a news release announcing the $200 million purchase of the former Revel Hotel Casino in January.

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Contact: 609-272-7222 DDanzis@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressDanzis

I cover Atlantic City government and the casino industry since joining The Press in early 2018. I formerly worked as a politics & government reporter for NJ Herald and received the First Amendment: Art Weissman Memorial NJPA Award two years in a row.

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