As promised in the wake of New Jersey’s successful referendum on bringing the joys of sports betting to the Garden State, state Sen. Ray Lesniak has submitted a draft of his proposed sports betting legislation. (Read it here.) Not many surprises beyond what we already knew. Casinos and racetracks that choose to launch sportsbooks will be subject to 8% gross revenue tax and a 1.25% ‘investment alternative tax’. New Jersey residents would be barred from placing wagers on any college sporting event that takes place inside state lines and no wagers would be permitted on New Jersey-based college teams, regardless of where the game is held. Wagers would be accepted via mobile device as well as in person.
National Football League spokesman Brian McCarthy has so far refused to be drawn into taking a public stance on New Jersey’s plans, beyond reiterating the league’s “long-held unwavering opposition to gambling on NFL games.” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who backs his state’s sports betting plan, told MyCentralJersey.com he was sure that if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “had a real problem with what we’re doing … he’ll pick up (the phone) and give me a call.”
When it comes down to dotting the i’s, etc., New Jersey intends to “examine the regulations implemented in other states where sports wagering is conducted and shall, as far as practicable, adopt a similar regulatory framework.” As unfettered single-game sports betting is currently permissible only in Nevada, it appears New Jersey plans to cut and paste much of that state’s existing sports betting regulations. Which brings up an interesting point – would Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) allow anyone to horn in on his home state’s monopoly?
Notwithstanding New Jersey’s need to win a federal court appeal of PASPA (the federal edict barring most states from offering sports betting), Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) has promised to introduce legislation in the House of Representatives on Monday that would grant New Jersey an immediate exemption from PASPA. Assuming Pallone can convince the current do-nothing dolts in the House to pass his somewhat controversial bill, it would then travel to the Senate, where Majority Leader Reid can knock it off the agenda with a mere flick of his pen. Ain’t politics grand?