New Jersey’s Senate is on the clock to vote on a sports betting bill that could pave the way for Monmouth Park to accept bets on NFL games as early as this weekend—the best-case scenario for proponents of the sports betting bill, which the Senate is scheduled to vote today.
Should the bill get the Senate’s approval, it would be sent to the assembly where a similar vote will take place this Thursday. If it passes that vote, then the spotlight turns to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who must sign the bill into law.
Even if the bill passes through all the proper channels and gets Christie’s signature, the NFL and other pro sports leagues are expected to seek an immediate injunction to put the clamps on the move for the time being. It’s a similar strategy the NFL and the other pro sports leagues in North America employed back in 2012, even though Senator Ray Lesniak expressed confidence that his amended bill would get the right number of votes for it to pass.
For its part, Monmouth Park is prepared to begin offering sports betting should Christie sign the bill into law. Last week, Monmouth Park operator Dennis Drazin announced the creation of The Independent Sports Wagering Association (TISWA), a self-regulating sports betting body in the state that would create an ethics code of conduct, as well as rules and regulations to promote a “safe, secure, and reliable sports wagering environment” for all parties concerned.
A few days ago, the track announced that its sports betting platform technology partner, William Hill, was “ready to go”, even though the state, at the behest of Governor Christie and Acting Attorney General John Hoffman, is still scheduled to file a response brief against the sports league on October 17 with the hearing preceded by Judge Michael Shipp scheduled on October 31.
Regardless, today’s Senate vote will go a long way in determining how unified state lawmakers are in introducing sports betting in New Jersey. If everything goes according to Lesniak’s wishes, we could see legalized sports betting in the state as early as this weekend, or at least until the leagues get another injunction, which many expect they’ll do.