New Jersey gaming regulators have approved temporary sports betting regulations just one day before Governor Phil Murphy is set to take the state’s first legal wager.
On Wednesday, New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) published the newly approved temporary regulations (viewable here) governing sports betting activity by the state’s gaming licensees. Regulators now have 270 days in which to craft the permanent regs.
First up, money. The cost of a sports betting license isn’t yet set in stone, but an initial license will cost a minimum of $100k. The full amount will be determined after considering “the costs for renewal, enforcement and gambling addiction.” Applicants need to ante up an additional retainer of $250k to cover the DGE’s sports betting oversight startup costs.
Land-based wagering at Atlantic City casinos will be taxed at 8.5%, while online wagering will face a 13% rate. Both rates are subject to an additional 1.25% tax to help fund AC tourism and marketing programs.
State racetracks, including former tracks that no longer offer racing, will pay similar rates for land-based/online wagering, plus an additional 1.25% to either the local municipality or the State General Fund.
The maximum allowable wager by any single betting operator from a patron on any single sports event will be capped at $5m, assuming any operator has the balls to take that nosebleed action. Operators can also accept layoff action from other operators, who must disclose their identity to the book accepting the wager.
Sports betting licensees are required to build a ‘first class sports wagering lounge’ that can’t be smaller than 1,000 square-feet and must have “clearly defined borders” and prominent problem gambling signage. This lounge can also contain slots and ‘other authorized games.’ Operations will be permitted via a temporary lounge while the permanent lounge is under construction, but only for 270 days.
Operators may also deploy sports betting kiosks in locations okayed by the DGE, provided the machines not be capable of issuing a ticket with a potential payout higher than $10k, nor be able to redeem tickets with a value over $3k.
The DGE won’t start issuing transactional waivers for online sports betting until July 12 at the earliest. Assuming they’re granted a waiver, licensees who’ve yet to establish a permanent wagering lounge are still free to launch online betting operations for a nine-month period while their lounge is under construction.
Sports betting licensees will be permitted to operate up to three individually branded websites and three similarly branded mobile wagering apps. An ‘internet gaming affiliate.’ aka a purely online operator that has partnered with a land-based betting licensee, can operate a betting ‘skin’ while the land-based operator’s lounge is under construction.
Thankfully, online bettors won’t be required to make in-person deposits at the licensee’s wagering lounge.
PUTTING THE GRIT IN INTEGRITY
New Jersey legislators rejected the sports leagues’ requests/demands for a cut of wagering handle to cover ‘integrity’ issues, and the DGE will require sportsbook operators to “have controls in place to identify unusual betting activity and report such activity to an integrity monitoring provider.”
Among other tasks, these integrity monitors are required to communicate regularly with each other and to share reports of unusual wagering activity with all betting licensees, who in turn are required to review the reports and notify their monitor if they’ve observed similarly sketchy activity.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN JUNE
Thursday is shaping up to be a banner day in New Jersey gaming history. Gov. Murphy is scheduled to make the ceremonial first bet at the Monmouth Park track at 10:30am, while an unidentified ‘special guest’ – we’re looking at you, former Gov. Chris Christie – will make the first wager a half-hour later at AC’s Borgata casino.