NJ horse sports betting
Legal Developments

New Jersey Advances Horse Racing and College Betting Legislation

The New Jersey legislature has recently advanced three pieces of legislation that would significantly expand residents’ online betting options.

Governor Phil Murphy has already signed one into law, while the others are in various stages of the legislative process.

NJ Allows Residents to Bet on Horse Races from Out of State

On November 6th, Governor Murphy signed into law a bill that permits residents to bet on horse races online even when they are out of state.

Under previous law, NJ residents could only bet on horse races online when physically located within state lines. A-2355 amends existing legislation to permit residents to place wagers from out of state.

The key portion of the bill reads:

A resident of this State who has established an account with an account wagering licensee may place an account wager through the licensee while physically present in New Jersey, or while physically present in another jurisdiction if placing such a wager is not inconsistent with the law of that jurisdiction or with federal law.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Ron Dancer, who said in June that it is “critical” to protect the state’s important industries amid the coronavirus pandemic:

All New Jersey residents should be allowed to place wagers on horse racing no matter where they are, whether it’s online or through an agency. With the changes in technology, our access to place wagers has changed and the law should reflect those changes. It’s also critical we do everything we can do to keep our staple industries afloat during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers Want to Expand College Sports Betting

New Jersey lawmakers have been considering legislation to ease the state’s restrictions on college sports betting. Under current law, NJ sportsbooks are prohibited from accepting wagers on college games in New Jersey or involving local college teams.

As BettingUSA reported last month, New Jersey Senator Paul Sarlo recently floated a proposal to remove the current ban on betting on college games that occur in-state if they are a part of an NCAA tournament, playoff, championship, or post-season competition.

Now, lawmakers are considering legislation to ease those restrictions even further. On Monday, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved SCR-133 with amendments that would end all restrictions on which college events sportsbooks may accept wagers.

If the measure passes into law, it will go to a statewide referendum for the approval of voters. If a majority of voters approve the measure, sportsbooks would be permitted to offer wagers on all college games, even if they take place in New Jersey or involve local college teams.

Senator Sarlo told the Associated Press that proponents of the measure received “the blessing of the NCAA and the Attorney General’s Office and a lot of the teams so we figured why not go for the whole thing?”

Senator Sarlo also said this in a statement:

New Jersey has become the country’s biggest sports betting market, and the Meadowlands is the largest sports wagering facility in the state. This is an important opportunity we have to capitalize upon. We need to support and sustain this growing market that is fast becoming a significant part of our regional and state economies. March Madness is a high-profile event on the sports betting calendar and we should be a key player.

Bill Seeks to Authorize Fixed Odds Horse Racing Betting

New Jersey is on track to authorize fixed-odds horse racing betting.

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee unanimously approved S3090 on Monday, sending the bill to the Senate and Assembly for further votes. Thoroughbred Daily News reports the bill has bipartisan support and should make it to the desk of Governor Phil Murphy, who is expected to sign it into law.

If S3090 passes, the bill will allow New Jersey racetracks to offer fixed-odds wagers on their races. Proponents of the measure say fixed-odds horse racing could improve handle and make the industry more accessible to bettors.

Darby Development CEO Dennis Drazin told Thoroughbred Daily News that fixed-odds wagering should be a more appealing form of betting for racing fans.

As a racetrack operator who talks to people, talks to our customers, one of the biggest complaints I get is when someone says they bet a horse at 8-5 and by the time they broke out of the gate and went a little bit the horse was 3-5. They think something has to be wrong with this picture. This way the bettor will have clarity on what the odds are and they’re not going to change. It will result in better satisfaction for the person making the wager.

Earlier this year, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Darby Development, operator of Monmouth Park, reached an agreement with Australian firm BetMakers to distribute fixed-odds horse racing odds from the track to licensed sports betting operators in New Jersey and beyond.

BetMakers Head of International Operations Dallas Baker says fixed-odds horse racing betting debuted in Australia about ten years ago and is the main reason handle there has doubled since then.

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