New Jersey Lawmakers Send Daily Fantasy Sports Bill To Governor Chris Christie’s Desk

New Jersey appears poised to begin taxing and regulating daily fantasy sports.

Last week, New Jersey Senate passed legislation seeking to tax and regulate daily fantasy sports operators in the state. It passed by a vote of 29 to 6. The legislation was also passed by the state Assembly in May 2017. Now, the bill will head to the desk of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie will either veto it or sign it into law.

It remains unclear whether Christie will sign the bill into law. He previously expressed an interest in allowing New Jersey residents to play daily fantasy sports. However, he also said he thought the state legislature had more pressing issues to deal with.

Daily fantasy sports: A game of skill

Under the terms of the legislation, daily fantasy sports will be categorized as a game of skill. As a result, it will not come under the control of the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Should Christie sign the bill, operators would be invited to apply for a permit from the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs. Licensed operators would then be forced to pay a 10.5 percent tax on revenues.

The state estimates this legislation will bring in approximately $6.6 million in tax revenue from daily fantasy sports operators.

Casinos and racetracks

Existing daily fantasy sports operators like DraftKings and FanDuel will not be the only ones permitted to apply for a permit. In fact, New Jersey casinos and racetracks will be invited to apply and partner with existing operators. However, casinos partnering with daily fantasy sports operators will be required to host at least one of the operators servers in Atlantic City.

Daily fantasy sports regulations included in the legislation will require players be at least 18 years old. Plus, operators will not be allowed to run games based on high school sports.

The legislation was passed just days after the United States Supreme Court announced it would hear New Jersey’s case challenge to the federal ban on sports betting.

New Jersey’s sports betting challenge

New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. also recently released a draft of a bill calling for the repeal of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

Plus, the American Gaming Association just launched a new campaign aimed at ending the federal ban on sports, pushing to see PASPA repealed.

Of course, sports betting is not considered a skill game like daily fantasy sports. In daily fantasy sports, players create teams made up of pro athletes and compete against each other in tournament-style competitions.

DraftKings and FanDuel merger

On the industry side of things, the Federal Trade Commission announced at the end of June it would be taking action to prevent the merger of daily fantasy sports’ top two sites: DraftKings and FanDuel.

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In A Somewhat Unexpected Development, US Supreme Court To Hear NJ Sports Betting Case

The US Supreme Court decided this week it will hear New Jersey’s challenge of the federal ban on sports betting, pleasing proponents of US sports betting.

The US Supreme Court has decided to hear New Jersey’s challenge of the federal ban on sports betting.

The Supreme Court agreed earlier this week to hear the state’s petition to legalize sports wagering within its borders. This comes even after advice from the Acting US Solicitor General last month suggesting it should not.

New Jersey and the federal sports betting ban

New Jersey lawmakers first passed a bill in 2011 legalizing sports betting at racetracks and Atlantic City casinos. But before any bets were placed, major sports leagues including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball filed suit.

The leagues were successful in having the law struck down. The state appealed to the Third Circuit Court and the decision was affirmed.

New Jersey passed another sports betting law in 2014 and lost again in district court. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision as well. The state appealed that decision and lost again before asking the US Supreme Court to hear the case.

The US Solicitor General was asked to provide a brief asking the US Supreme Court to hear the case. However, Acting US Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall recommended instead the court not take up the case.

Two new fronts emerge

The state was awaiting word from the US Supreme Court. But in the meantime, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. released a draft of a bill last month calling for the repeal of the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).

This is the law that makes traditional sports betting illegal everywhere except Nevada, NFL parlay sports betting in Delaware, and game square wagering in Montana.

Pallone’s bill would authorize states to legalize sports betting and also clarify states’ ability to legalize online gambling.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) also launched a new campaign aimed at ending the federal ban on sports betting. Its newly formed American Sports Betting Coalition is also pushing to get PASPA repealed.

What happens for NJ sports betting at the Supreme Court level?

Back on the sports betting battle’s original front, New Jersey will now get more than its day in court. In fact, the Supreme Court will start accepting briefs on the case in August. Both the leagues and New Jersey will get a chance to respond and oral arguments could begin as early as the fall.

The case will be heard by the Supreme Court’s nine justices. New Jersey will have to convince five of them to side with it to overturn PASPA and end the federal ban on sports betting. The case isn’t likely to come to a conclusion until 2018.

The American Gaming Association responds

The AGA remains hopeful this is the beginning of the end for PASPA.

“The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 has failed to protect sports and fans,” read an AGA statement released after the Supreme Court announced it would hear New Jersey’s case.

The release continued:

“PASPA, which is approaching its 25th anniversary, is fueling an unregulated $150 billion illegal gambling market that continues to deprive states of vital public funding for services such as law enforcement and infrastructure.

“We are pleased the Supreme Court appears to have responded favorably to our arguments as to why they should hear this important case. And we are hopeful their engagement will provide further encouragement for Congress to take the steps necessary to create a regulated sports betting marketplace in the United States.

“The gaming industry, and the American Sports Betting Coalition, is committed to working with all relevant stakeholders to build a system that protects states’ rights, fans and the integrity of sports.”

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Which NJ Online Casino Sites Have The Most Games And Slots?

Several New Jersey online casinos have been in the middle of an arms race recently.

The sites have developed their own content and joined with numerous third-party software providers to get on different casino game platforms and feature the latest titles in an effort to offer New Jersey players as many different games as they possibly can.

So far, it has been a tight race. But the sites involved are surely enjoying it. In fact, these sites have seen increased revenue as a result, and they are quickly rising to the top of the state’s growing online casino industry.

New Jersey online game leaders

The battle to lead the New Jersey online casino market in number of games offered is really a two-horse race between Resorts and Golden Nugget. Although, Resorts’ sister site Mohegan Sun has been dragged into it as well.

The race turned into a sprint to be the first site to offer 400 different game titles at the start of 2017. Golden Nugget reportedly got there first, hitting the mark in May. However, Resorts managed the feat within a few days.

Things slowed down a little in the months to follow, with the sites adding only a few new titles. However, as of June, Golden Nugget leads the New Jersey online casino market in total number of games with 409. Resorts stands an incredibly close second, with 408 titles, and its sister site Mohegan Sun boasts 399 in third.

After that, the drop off is relatively large, with Caesars hosting 341 game titles in fourth place. SugarHouse is a distant fifth with 322 different games as of the end of the first quarter of 2017.

New Jersey online slots leaders

Golden Nugget may have the most number of different games, but it actually sits third when it comes to the most number of online slots available. In fact, Resorts leads this specific race with 372 online slot titles as of June 2017. Golden Nugget is actually third on the list with 362 online slots. Resorts’ sister site Mohegan Sun is second with 363 slot titles, most of which are also available on the Resorts site.

The also-ran sites in this category include Caesars, with 300 online slots, and Borgata and Betfair, sitting tied for fifth with with 206. These titles actually make up a huge percentage of the 341, 230, and 229 total games respectively offered on each of these online casino sites.

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New Jersey online video poker leaders

There is actually a tie for the top spot in terns of the most video poker games offered by a New Jersey online casino. On the top sits Golden Nugget and Caesars with 22 titles each. That is a lot of different video poker titles, but players will certainly be familiar with what these online casinos are offering, as many are the exact same varieties of video poker on offer at brick-and-mortar casinos in Atlantic City.

Resorts and sister site Mohegan Sun are a close second in this category. Each offer 19 different video poker titles. A relative newcomer to the New Jersey online casino scene, SugarHouse rounds out the top five with 12 different video poker games.

New Jersey online blackjack leaders

There’s no surprise in terms of the site featuring the most blackjack games. It’s Golden Nugget, which offers 12 different online blackjack titlesIn fact, Golden Nugget is the only New Jersey online casino site that hits double figures in online blackjack games on offer.

Caesars comes second in this category, offering nine different video poker games. Resorts and sister site Mohegan Sun are tied for a close third with eight different blackjack titles on the sites. Tropicana and Borgata each have seven online blackjack games and round out the top five in this category.

AC Casino Revenues Rise Again Thanks To Big Boost From Online Gambling

Atlantic City casino revenues were up in May of this year, thanks in large part to a huge boost from the legal real money online casinos in New Jersey.

Atlantic City casino revenues were up in May of this year, thanks in large part to a huge boost from New Jersey online gambling sites.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released numbers last week showing revenue from Atlantic City’s seven operating casinos hit $208.3 million in May. This represented a 2.5 percent year-over-year increase from May 2016.

In fact, $203.3 million in revenue was recorded in May of 2016 by eight Atlantic City casinos. Trump Taj Mahal was still operating in May 2016. The property closed its doors in October 2016.

NJ online gambling revenue sees huge jump

The increase was aided by a huge jump in online gaming revenue in New Jersey. In fact, New Jersey internet gaming revenues were up 27.3 percent over the same month last year. Internet gaming revenues reached $21,071,248 in May 2017. This compared to $16,546,158 in May 2016.

The MGM Resorts-owned Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa continued to set the pace in the AC casino industry. It posted total gaming revenues of $71,864,876. This represented a 10.6 percent increase over the $65 million posted by the property in May 2016.

Borgata has been the Atlantic City market leader in total gaming revenue since it opened in 2003.

Borgata falls online as Golden Nugget surges

However, online gaming revenues are suddenly telling a different story. Online gambling sites operating under Borgata’s license were revenue leaders from the launch of the market until the end of 2016. But they fell from the top spot in the first quarter of 2017. In fact, in May 2017, these sites fell to fifth place on a list of five licensees.

Online casino sites operating under the Golden Nugget internet gaming license have risen to the top. In fact, these sites posted $5,915,167 in online gaming revenues in May 2017.

These sites include Golden Nugget’s own online casino, the Betfair NJ online casino and PlaySugarHouse. PlaySugarHouse is a New Jersey online casino site run by Philadelphia, PA’s SugarHouse Casino.

This group combined to post a massive 84.8 percent year-over-year revenue increase last month.

In the meantime, Borgata’s online casino and poker site revenues actually dropped 11.4 percent. In fact, the sites were leapfrogged by those operating under the licenses of Caesars Interactive NJ, Resorts Digital, and Tropicana. Tropicana’s sister site is VirginCasino.com.

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Hope springs eternal

Alas, hope for Borgata’s ailing online gambling sites is in the works. Partner Pala Interactive, which already operates an online casino, launched an online poker site under Borgata’s license this month.

Pala Interactive is the online gambling division of the California-based Pala Band of Mission Indians.

Plus, MGM Resorts International bought out partner Boyd Gaming Corporation’s interest in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in 2016. The company then announced last month it will be launching its own online casino and poker sites under the playMGM brand before the end of 2017.

New American Gaming Association Coalition Joins The Fight For Legal Sports Betting

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has launched a new campaign aimed at ending the federal ban on legalized sports betting across America.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) launched a new campaign this week aimed at ending the federal ban on sports betting across America.

In fact, the newly formed American Sports Betting Coalition (ASBC) is bringing together stakeholders on all sides of the issue. It is looking to have the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) repealed. This is the law that makes traditional sports betting illegal everywhere except Nevada, NFL parlay sports betting in Delaware, and game square wagering in Montana.

“Big Government’s 1992 sports betting prohibition has failed to protect sports, fans and communities,” said Geoff Freeman, president and CEO of the AGA, the group leading the ASBC campaign.

“We are partnering with local and state elected officials, law enforcement and other diverse interests to tell Washington to get out of the way. Regulated sports betting is what fans want and sports integrity demands.”

New Jersey leads the fight for legal sports betting in the US

Over the past few years, the state of New Jersey has pretty much led this fight. In fact, New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill in 2011 legalizing sports betting at racetracks inside and Atlantic City casinos.

But before the industry got off the ground, major sports leagues including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball filed suit. These groups have challenged New Jersey’s right to legalize sports betting.

However, New Jersey ultimately turned the case into its own challenge of PASPA, but this case did not go well. A district court upheld the federal ban on sports betting in 2013. New Jersey appealed twice. However, the state lost two straight 2-1 decisions at the Third Circuit Court level.

The state asked the US Supreme Court to hear the case, but before it had a chance to weigh in, Acting US Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall recommended the court not take up the case.

The US Supreme Court is expected to announce a decision on whether to hear the case later this month. In the meantime, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. released a draft of a bill last month that calls for the repeal of PASPA. The bill authorizes states to legalize sports betting and clarifies its ability to legalize online gambling.

Sixity percent of Americans support legalizing sports betting

A national survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner has discovered close to 60 percent of Americans are in favor of ending the federal ban on sports betting. As a result, the ASBC is poised to make a major push in that direction.

“PASPA is unconstitutional and a failed law,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a release launching the coalition’s campaign.

Said Schimel:

“I, along with several of my colleagues from other states, believe we must respect state sovereignty. That is why we filed an amicus brief to the New Jersey case. The rampant illegal sports betting that currently exists continues to fuel other criminal activities and provides no consumer protections. States should be able to determine for themselves how to address the issue.”

Several states have already introduced sports betting bills aimed at filling the void. These states include:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • South Carolina
  • New York
  • Maryland
  • West Virginia
  • Connecticut

Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis has joined the campaign. He claims its time to regulate sports betting for public safety reasons.

Plus, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett agrees, and is backing the new campaign.

“The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that allowing sports betting is something for the people of each state to decide, not the federal government,” he said. “Also, the potential revenue would be great for our local economics; and the tools for law enforcement would make our communities safer,” Cornett said.

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The sports betting campaign continues

The AGA has long called for the law to be repealed. It claims Americans already bet more than $150 billion on sports annually. The AGA claims most of this money is bet through illegal bookies and offshore online gambling operations.

A regulated market would give states the ability to monitor sports betting and help stop the flow of that money to criminal organizations. The AGA argues an open, transparent market would also make tracking betting easier, helping ensure the integrity of sports.

According to the release, the new coalition will lead an all-inclusive advocacy campaign focused on repealing PASPA. It will bring together law enforcement officials, states’ rights advocates, policymakers, and industry leaders in a push for legislative action in Washington, ending PASPA and leaving it up to the states to decide if they want to have sports betting or not.

For now, it has set up a website outlining the effort.

A New Hope For Legal Sports Betting In New Jersey, Courtesy Of Congressman Frank Pallone

The battle to legalize sports betting in New Jersey is taking a different tack with Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. introducing a draft of The GAME Act.

The battle to legalize sports betting in New Jersey is taking a different tack.

State lawmakers passed a bill in 2011 legalizing sports betting at racetracks inside the state and New Jersey casinos. But before the framework could be set up, major sports leagues including the National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball filed suit, challenging New Jersey’s right to legalize sports betting.

The case ultimately revolved around New Jersey challenging the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). This is the law that essentially created a federal ban on sports betting everywhere except Nevada.

It also allowed for existing NFL parlay sports betting in Delaware and game square wagering in Montana. However, the case has not gone well for New Jersey.

The New Jersey PASPA challenge

A district court upheld the federal ban on sports betting in 2013. New Jersey appealed twice. However, the state lost two straight 2-1 decisions by the Third Circuit Court. The state asked the US Supreme Court to hear the case, however, Acting US Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall filed a brief last month recommending the court not take up the case.

The US Supreme Court, which traditionally follows the Solicitor General’s advice on hearing cases, is expected to announce a decision on whether to hear the case later this month.

In the meantime, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. is taking the battle for legalized sports betting in New Jersey in a different direction. Pallone previously asked Wall to write a brief prompting the US Supreme Court to hear New Jersey’s PASPA case.

At the end of May, Pallone released a draft of a bill that calls for the repeal of PASPA and ultimately authorizes states to legalize sports betting.

The GAME Act

The name of the legislation is The Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement Act, or GAME Act. In addition, the bill would also clarify states like New Jersey’s ability to legalize online gambling, provided solid consumer protections and regulations are included.

According to Pallone, it’s time for the federal government to allow individual states to make a decision on how they want to handle what is already a billion dollar industry in America, whether there is a federal ban on it or not.

“Despite the federal gaming laws in place today, Americans are betting up to $400 billion a year on sporting events alone,” Pallone said. “It’s time to recognize that the laws are outdated, and the GAME Act will modernize them by increasing transparency, integrity, and consumer protections.”

Pallone ultimately claims illegal gambling and offshore online gambling operations skirting federal laws are prevalent in the United States. He’s hoping The GAME Act will remove the federal obstacles to legalized gambling at the state level. His ultimate goal is to see the billion dollar industry brought back to American soil, with proper taxes and regulations in place.

Hope for legal NJ sports betting

The GAME Act will stop short of creating a federal framework for gambling. However, the bill will allow states to legalize and regulate sports betting and online gambling if they want to.

Now, Pallone is seeking input from stakeholders and citizens. Whether the US Supreme Court hears New Jersey’s PASPA challenge or not, legal sports betting in this state, and others, still has a hope.

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