New Jersey Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill, Wagering to Start on Thursday

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed a bill to regulate sports gambling on Monday, allowing racetracks and casinos in the state to start taking bets in a few days.

New Jersey sports betting

Monmouth Park in New Jersey already had sports gambling odds displayed, as seen here on June 6, and will start taking bets on Thursday. (Picture: Tanya Breen/Asbury Park Press)

According to a report by, Monmouth Park intends to take the initial bets in the state at 10:30 am on Thursday.

Murphy signed the bill after a weekend review of the legislation, ending fears he might use his trademark as leverage in a budget battle with state legislators.

“Today, we are finally making the dream of legalized sports gambling a reality for New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement after the signing. “This is the ideal move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy.”

Emergency Regulations Coming Wednesday

New Jersey now becomes the second state to approve complete scale sports betting after the Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Delaware began taking bets on a variety of sports last week.

Before Monmouth Park can start taking bets, the New Jersey Racing Commission will have to give the track a permit to do so. On Wednesday, the board is expected to meet and review a set of emergency regulations which could go into effect immediately. Following that, Murphy would have to approve their choice, at which point Monmouth Park and other tracks could apply for temporary waivers to start taking bets until permanent licenses are awarded.

The plan is to fast track these measures so that Monmouth Park can have their gambling up and running on Thursday morning, a time which coincides with the start of the World Cup.

When betting opens at the track, Murphy is expected to set the initial bet. Track operator Dennis Drazin has also encouraged lawmakers such as former Governor Chris Christie, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and former state Senator Raymond Lesniak to help open the track’s sportsbook.

At least among the invited guests has already said he knows what his first bet will be.

“Fifty bucks on France to win the World Cup,” Lesniak told reporters. “That’s big time for me.”

William Hill — which operates the sportsbook at Monmouth Park — currently lists France as an 11/2 pick to win the championship.

When Will CasinosĀ Get in on Action?

Atlantic City casinos will also have the ability to take sports bets, with their sportsbooks being controlled by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. The Borgata looks likely to be the first casino in the city to start their sports betting operation, which they say ought to be prepared to go as soon as regulatory approvals are in place.

Online sports gambling was also approved in the law, though bets over the world wide web isn’t allowed until at least 30 days after the bill has been signed.

The hope is that sports gambling will bring more visitors to the state, attracting them back to Atlantic City casinos rather than resorts in neighboring states and bolstering New Jersey’s racing industry. The sportsbooks should also bring considerable revenue into the state coffers, with official estimates predicting that New Jersey should get at least $13 million in new tax revenue this year.

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