NJ Assembly Approves Bill to Allow Online Gambling at RacetracksPublished December 11, 2017 by Elana K
Lawmakers in the New Jersey General Assembly have approved a bill that will allow horse racing tracks to offer on-site online gambling, also known as internet gambling cafes.
Lawmakers in the New Jersey General Assembly have approved a bill that will allow horse racing tracks to offer on-site online gambling, also known as internet gambling cafes. The bill, A 4255, was passed by the General Assembly with a 60-12-1 vote.
Existing legislation in New Jersey prohibits cafes and racetracks from offering online gambling; A 4255, however, creates an exemption for racetracks. The only requirement is that the online casino games offered at racetracks need to be in partnership with an Atlantic City casino or casino affiliate. Thus, two industries stand to benefit from this legislation: Atlantic City casinos and racetracks.
For and Opposed
Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of the Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport, said that the new bill would be “win-win for the racing industry and the casino industry.”
Critics, however, argue that allowing online gambling at racetracks is the same as expanding online gambling outside of Atlantic City, which is illegal.
Whether illegal or not, the bill is not such a stretch from New Jersey’s current reality; while racetracks are not allowed to legally offer online casino games, anyone visiting a New Jersey racetrack can access NJ online gambling sites from their smartphones.
The bill now needs to be approved by the Senate. As the Senate deliberates, the Supreme Court is also deliberating on a New Jersey gambling issue: Sports betting. Governor Chris Christie has been fighting to legalize sports betting in New Jersey for years but has been prevented by doing so by a federal ban on sports betting. Christie argues that such a ban is unconstitutional and tramples on states rights. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides and is now considering which course of action to take.
Experts say that the likelihood of the Supreme Court rescinding the federal ban is high. If that happens, the ramifications could change the scope of sports betting in the U.S., currently a black market industry estimated at $150 billion a year.