New Jersey has become the 16th US state to formally approve daily fantasy sports (DFS) betting within its borders.
On Thursday, Gov. Chris Christie stopped drooling over someone else’s nachos long enough to put his John Hancock on the DFS legislation that has been sitting on his desk since the state senate approved S-1982/A-3532 in the first week of July. While the timing dovetails nicely with the imminent arrival of a new NFL season, the law won’t take effect for another 90 days.
DFS operators like DraftKings and FanDuel are already operating in the state, having received assurances from the Division of Gaming Enforcement that the activity fell under the umbrella of existing state laws. However, operators must now apply for permits from the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs, the fees for which have yet to be determined.
The new law will also require DFS operators to pay taxes on their gross gaming revenue for the first time. Operators will pay 10.5% tax on revenue derived from New Jersey DFS players and the state believes it could reap an annual $6.6m in revenue from the activity.
DFS operators are also allowed to partner with Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks. Resorts Casino Hotel got a head start on this in July by teaming with SportAD on its new FastPick fantasy product (which many have likened to regular parlay sports betting).
The legislation contains many of the now standard ‘consumer protection’ clauses but, unlike most states’ DFS laws, New Jersey’s effort doesn’t exclude college athletics from the list of sports on which operators can offer contest pools (although high school sports are excluded).
New Jersey has pursued a multi-year quest to authorize legal single-game sports betting within its borders, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has opposed the state every step of the way, so read what you will into the DFS bill’s college sports omission. Regardless, the major DFS operators ceased offering college sports contests over a year ago.
New Jersey’s formal approval of DFS has been a long time in the making, and state Sen. Jim Whelan was one of the forces behind the state’s original DFS legislation in late 2015. Sadly, Whelan wasn’t around to see the bill become law, as he passed away suddenly from a heart attack earlier this week.
Whelan, a former three-term mayor of Atlantic City, was a tireless champion for the city’s casino industry and Christie claimed Atlantic City’s current comeback “is due in no small part to the efforts and passion of Jim Whelan.”