New Jersey Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill amid Eventful Month for State’s Gambling Industry

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Monday a bill that authorizes the provision of sports betting services by local casinos and racetracks. The state’s top official put his signature on the legislative piece four days after the Legislature voted it through overwhelmingly.

New Jersey residents will thus be able to begin placing bets on different sports from Thursday, according to reports from local media.

Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport will welcome the Governor Thursday morning to celebrate the launch of its sports betting facility. It was also announced that Gov. Murphy will be the first person to place a legal bet within the state’s borders since the legalization of the activity.

New Jersey was actually the state to bring the sports betting legalization matter before the US Supreme Court. The nation’s highest ranking court announced last year that it would take on the case and ruled to annul a long-standing federal ban on sports betting in mid-May.

New Jersey has become the second state to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court’s decision, with Delaware being the first one. The latter state launched full-scale betting services at its gambling properties last week, after conducting limited betting operations for years.

Sports Betting amid Casino Expansion

The legalization of sports betting came as another important development amid what has turned to be a particularly eventful year for New Jersey’s gambling industry. Atlantic City’s casino industry seems to have finally taken a path toward recovery after losing its footing following the opening of casinos in neighboring states and the great recession and its aftermath, which resulted in the closure of five gaming properties in the period between 2014 and 2016.

All of the city’s seven casinos have said that they would be moving quickly towards launching sports betting services, both in physical sports books and online. While sports books could open on the city’s legendary Boardwalk any day now, state residents will have to wait for about a month before being able to place a bet remotely.

Atlantic City is also gearing up for the opening of two new casinos – the renovated former Trump Taj Mahal, which will now operate as Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, and the renovated former Revel, now rebranded as Ocean Resort Casino. Both properties will hold their grand opening ceremonies on June 28.

While it is still unknown whether Hard Rock will venture into sports betting and if it does, to what extent it will be able to conduct the activity, bearing in mind its stadium naming contract with the Miami Dolphins, Ocean Resort Casino has already made the necessary preparations to
be able to feature sports betting when it opens doors at the end of this month.

The casino resort has partnered British bookmaker William Hill to jointly operate what would be a 7,500-square-foot sports book at the resort’s gaming floor.

The legalization of sports betting in New Jersey has been touted by lawmakers as a positive step and has been hoped to give a much-needed revenue boost to the state’s racetracks, to further help Atlantic City and its casino industry reinvent and stabilize itself, and to create new jobs and tax revenue sources for the state’s coffers.

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