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Bill authorizing sports betting clears Assembly committee in New Jersey

Sponsored by Eric Houghtaling, John Burzichelli, Joann Downey, Ralph Caputo and Raj Mukherji, bill A4111 allows adults over the age of 21 years to place bets in-person at a sports wagering lounge located at a casino or racetrack, or via the internet.

The introduction of the bill follows the recent decision by the US Supreme Court to strike down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) which had banned state-authorized sports gambling with the exception of Nevada.

"This is about fairness, freedom, job creation and economic development," said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). "Places like Monmouth Park and Freehold Racetrack have been left in the dark for far too long. Finally, this will no longer be the case."

Under the bill, sports wagering gross revenue accumulated by a casino or racetrack will be subject to an 8.5 per cent tax, while the tax rate applicable to online sports gross revenue will be 13 per cent. These funds will be paid to the Casino Revenue Fund and the investment alternative tax, which will be used to fund the Meet Atlantic City market program, promoting the city and its facilities.

"This will be a big boost for our economy. This will bring more people from in-state, out-of-state, and abroad to Atlantic City and to our state's racetracks," said Burzichelli (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem). "This will bring jobs to our state and help put an end to illegal wagering. I can’t hide my excitement for what’s in store."

According to the bill, the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement will have responsibility for licensing and will promulgate sports gaming regulations, while the New Jersey Racing Commission will be involved in approving the operation of a sports pool at a racetrack and any agreement between a casino and a racetrack to jointly operate a sports pool.

"There will be ample benefits to legal sports wagering in New Jersey," said Downey (D-Monmouth). "We will bring many jobs to Monmouth County, we will modernize our gaming industry, we will increase tourism, and we will be able to increase revenue for our state budget, and subsequently pay for vital programs which help our families."

"I can't stress enough how big of a boost this will bring to our state's economy," added Caputo (D-Essex). "Sports gambling has been going on for so long, and now the state can finally regulate this activity and reap some of the revenue so we can fund programs which will benefit all of our residents, including those who need it most. This will bring jobs back to New Jersey and contribute to the revitalization of Atlantic City. This is a big win."

After clearing the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee on Monday, the full Senate and Assembly could pass a final bill on Thursday, sending it to Governor Phil Murphy for his final approval or veto.

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