Finally, the wait is over.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill 4111 in Trenton on Monday afternoon, legalizing NJ sports betting and ending a brief-yet-tense couple of weeks in the Garden State.

Making ‘the dream … a reality’ in NJ

Under the bill, licensed casinos and racetracks will be authorized to accept wagers at their respective sportsbook lounges almost immediately.

Monmouth Park, for example, is expected to open its sportsbook at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. Sites without lounges can petition to operate a “sports pool” at temporary facilities while their books are being built.

Additionally, online and mobile sportsbooks will be able to begin receiving bets 30 days after the effective date of the bill.

“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to sign Assembly Bill 4111 because it means that our casinos in Atlantic City and our racetracks throughout our state can attract new business and new fans, boosting their own long-term financial prospects. This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy.”

What else does the new law do?

Also in the law are several provisions:

  • Bettors must be at least 21 years old.
  • Athletes, coaches, referees and “other persons with potential influence or access to non-public information regarding sporting events” are prohibited from placing wagers on events overseen by the leagues in which they participate.
  • Wagers on high school events or collegiate events held in New Jersey or involving New Jersey teams will not be accepted.
  • Land-based sports betting will be taxed at a rate of 8.5 percent while online/electronic wagers will be taxed at 13 percent.

Under the bill, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement and the New Jersey Racing Commission will have at their disposal regulations to allow an already-licensed casino or racetrack to apply for a “transactional waiver” to begin offering sports betting.

According to the release announcing Murphy’s signing, the estimated tax revenue of sports betting for New Jersey is expected to be about $13 million in the first year of operation.

There are no integrity fees or other measures that the leagues have actively lobbied for since the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (aka PASPA) on May 14.

NJ finally gets into the game

New Jersey carried the load for the better part of six years in the fight for legalized sports betting. The state dropped a reported $9 million in legal fees alone before SCOTUS ruled PASPA unconstitutional and opened the door for regulated single-game wagering across the country.

Lawmakers, casinos, and racetracks were anxious to make New Jersey the first state outside of Nevada to offer sports betting.

Last Thursday, the state Assembly and Senate unanimously approved A 4111 to send the bill to Murphy’s desk for his signature. But Murphy was apparently not as eager to finalize legislation.

“We’re not going to sit on it, but we just got it,” Murphy said last week. “We’re going to have sports betting sooner (rather) than later in New Jersey and I’m really excited about that. I’m not going to change my stripes just because it’s a big weekend. We’ve got to make sure we do what we do right.”

Delaware ultimately beat New Jersey to the punch by legalizing sports betting — two days before NJ lawmakers sent the bill to Murphy’s desk. The notoriety of being the first is seemingly not a concern for New Jersey, however.

All that matters is that sports betting is now legal and regulated.

What’s next for NJ sports betting?

Only a few relative formalities stand between NJ bettors and placing their first legalized wagers in the state.

From Monday’s release:

“On Wednesday, June 13th, the New Jersey Racing Commission will hold a meeting to review regulations related to the establishment of sports betting at New Jersey racetracks. Following the Racing Commission adopting regulations, the Governor will be able to ratify the Racing Commission’s decision and licensed racetracks will then be able to apply for a temporary waiver to commence sports betting.”

As of now, it seems only Monmouth Park will have its sportsbook go live this week.

Other facilities to keep an eye on include Borgata in Atlantic City, which has plans in place to convert its racebook into a sportsbook. Meadowlands Racetrack partnered with Betfair US to have a lounge and a mobile presence.

William Hill, the British bookmaker that will operate at Monmouth, has also teamed up with incoming AC property Ocean Resort Casino. All told, there could be nine active casinos in New Jersey with sportsbooks.