Governor Christie signs New Jersey sports betting bill

Governor Christie signs New Jersey sports betting bill

Monday, October 20, 2014 Totally Gaming

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed a new bill that will allow casinos and racetracks in the US state to legally offer sports betting services.

Lawmakers in the state last week passed the bill by a vote of 27-1 but required Christie’s signature in order for it to come into effect. 

The new bill will allow casinos and racetracks in the state to offer sports betting services under the provision that bets are placed on events taking place outside of New Jersey in order to avoid any conflict with a 1992 federal law.

Monmouth Park Racetrack could become the first facility in the state to offer such wagering services on October 26.

Democratic state Senator Raymond Lesniak, who authored the bill, said it will help boost business in the state’s struggling gambling market.

“It will be a lifeline to Atlantic City casinos and for the horse racing industry, creating jobs and economic opportunities that will serve the city and the state for years to come,” Lesniak said in a statement issued to Forbes. 

Christie’s decision to sign the bill comes after US District Judge Michael Shipp delayed a decision over whether to allow New Jersey to offer legal sports betting services to consumers located inside the state.

Shipp had been due to publish his opinion on the case on October 6 but opted to delay the process until October 31 to allow both sides to file additional briefs. Reports suggest that the process has again been delayed until November 24. 

Christie has passed the bill despite heavy opposition from North America’s four major sports leagues and the National Collegiate Association (NCAA), which last month challenged the latest attempt to allow sports betting in the New Jersey.

Earlier in September, Christie issued a directive to the state’s Attorney General to allow casinos and racetracks in the state to offer sports wagering as long as bets are placed on events outside New Jersey.

In a court filing, the leagues branded the directive as “astounding” and a “blatant violation” of an earlier court order by Judge Shipp.

New Jersey Legislature passed a sports betting law signed by Christie in 2012 after voters backed sports betting in a non-binding referendum the previous year.

However, two years ago, American football’s NFL, basketball’s NBA, ice hockey’s NHL, baseball’s MLB and the NCAA sued Christie, citing the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which bans sports gambling in all but four US states.

In last month's court filing, the leagues said the law passed by New Jersey’s Legislature explicitly views sports gambling as being a state-regulated industry, which would violate the Act.

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