New Jersey panels advance sports betting law

Posted: Updated:

New Jersey's proposed sports betting law is heading for the finish line.

Committees in the state Senate and Assembly on Monday advanced a bill that would legalize sports betting in the state.

It is on track for final approval on Thursday, and Monmouth Park Racetrack hopes to begin taking bets by Friday if all goes well.

“We are going to be ready, willing and able to go on Friday,” says Monmouth Park president Dennis Drazin.

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The bill does not contain an integrity fee payment for sports leagues to help them police betting patterns. Officials of Major League Baseball, the NBA and the PGA Tour testified that they need the fee.

“I do care about my sport. I care about all sports. I don’t want the sports to become what we view as ‘WWF,’ you know?” testified former New York Mets and Yankees pitcher Al Leiter.

Democratic Assemblyman Ralph Caputo told the sports leagues to pay for the state’s legal bills.

“You might want to issue a check for $9 million to the state of New Jersey, just for a show of good faith and maybe estimate all the tax revenue we lost over seven or eight years. That might be helpful,” Caputo told NBA attorney Dan Spillane when Spillane said that the NBA opposed the bill.

If the bill is signed by Gov. Phil Murphy this week, Drazin says that he hopes to have Monmouth Park’s new sports wagering lounge ready to go in time for the Mets and Yankees baseball games and the NBA finals.

Under the bill, sports wagering at a casino or racetrack will be subject to an 8.5 percent tax. Funds from that tax will be paid to the Casino Revenue Fund and the Investment Alternative Tax, which helps supports Atlantic City

The Associated Press wire services contributed to that report.

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