Governor Chris Christie “surrendered to destiny” as he officially authorized Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks to begin offering sports betting without fear of state interference, which is why we decided to ask our readers, “Will Monmouth Park be taking sports bets during the Super Bowl?
71% said “Yes” With only, 29% of our readers voting “No.”
New Jersey has been trying to win the freedom to offer sports betting for several years now. A state referendum on sports betting met with overwhelming approval but faced opposition from Federal government, North American pro sports leagues and the NCAA.
The timing, however, is working in New Jersey’s favor. Atlantic City’s gaming industry is in desperate shape with declining revenues and several major casinos’ closure, most recently the 2- year-old Revel Hotel and Casino. Christie is sure to emphasize the casino industry’s importance to the state’s economy and the huge job losses that are taking place, as well as the potential of sports betting to boost New Jersey’s gaming industry.
Also on Wednesday, NJ.com reported that two Atlantic lawmakers, State Sen. Jim Whelan and Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, made a peace offering to the professional sports leagues over sports betting—a 0.25% fee on every bet that would go to the sports league to help fund sports integrity enforcement programs.
Whelan and Mazzeo wrote to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver saying they appreciated his recent public comments that “the spread of legal sports betting across the US was inevitable and that the NBA would ultimately participate in the activity”—a hint that Silver’s league might be less opposed to it than in the past.
Christie’s administration attempted to clear the way for legalized sports betting at the state’s casinos and horseracing tracks by telling them they will not be held civilly or criminally liable by state law enforcement agencies.
The move was intended to reassure those facilities that they can offer wagering without fear of state reprisal, so long as no betting occurs on college sports or college athletic events in New Jersey or on any of the state’s college teams, regardless of where they play.
Most of the gaming properties in the state are taking a wait-and-see approach but Monmouth Park appears to quickly be getting on-board. Monmouth operator Dennis Drazin said the track would wait 45 days before launching its sportsbooks, leaving sufficient room for US District Judge Michael Shipp to make his decision, which was set on October 6. Drazin vowed that it was his “intent to start sports betting on the 46th day, unless a judge tells me I can’t.” In preparation, the racetrack needs to hire 110 employees and install new internet lines and make other infrastructure improvements to be ready when that 46th day rolls around.
It remains to be seen whether any facilities open up their books to wagering before it’s clear that the move does not violate a federal law and whether federal authorities will intervene in the absence of state enforcement.
Next week’s poll asks, “Will Roger Goodell be the NFL’s commissioner week 1 of the 2015 season?” Roger Goodell, who appears to have lied about not having seen the video of Ray Rice punching out Janay Palmer before suspending Rice for all of two games, is on the hot seat as NFL commissioner. Now, you can bet on whether or not Goodell will lose his job as sportsbooks have created props on whether Roger Goodell will still be the league’s commissioner by the time next season starts. Bet on it or take our poll and check back next week to see what our readers think.