Although the Supreme Court of the United States has not yet issued its decision regarding the fate of the federal law banning sports wagering, plans for New Jersey sports betting are in the works, sort of.
Following comments last week at a London conference by New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) director David Rebuck, regarding New Jersey sports betting licenses, the DGE provided the following statement from the director to SportsHandle on Thursday:
The Division of Gaming Enforcement recognizes it needs to be prepared to investigate and license businesses and individuals seeking to enter the New Jersey gaming market should the Supreme Court issue a favorable decision authorizing the state to legalize and regulate sports wagering.
Under existing law any business or individual anticipating entering into a commercial transaction with a casino must be licensed or approved by the Division. Many companies have inquired as to the State’s licensing requirements in the event they are able to engage in sports wagering operations with our casino industry. The Division has encouraged these companies to commence the application process.
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is Preparing for Legal New Jersey Sports Betting, Accepting Applications Ahead of Supreme Court Ruling
Based on comments made last week, it appears that the DGE will first seek to license casinos and racetracks, or land-based gambling licensees.
“B2C operators and B2B suppliers will need to partner with casinos, racetracks or lotteries” said Rebuck, per Casino.org and other sources. “Even if you don’t have a partner, nothing stops you from submitting your application for a license to do sports wagering.”
NJ IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS when it comes to sports betting – at least the business of accepting applications for licenses to offer & operate sports betting
That was the message from DGE Director David Rebuck at ICE in London
Chris Grove @OPReport@PPAGInc
— Bill Pascrell, III (@BillPascrell3rd) February 15, 2018
Backpedaling a Bit?
Although we did not hear the complete comments in London, SportsHandle sources were a bit surprised that the director was openly calling for licenses at all.
Why? Because the 2014 “repealer” law that New Jersey and the sports leagues are battling over in the Supreme Court repeals all prohibitions regarding sports wagering. In other words, the state has submitted that it has not or did not create or authorize any sports betting regulations or licensure procedures.
But this statement seems to be couching the acceptance of applications in terms of preparedness, and aligning the process in the same way as the current process for any gaming licensee permitted to operate traditional casino-style games.
Mirroring what New Jersey is now doing with these applications in terms of preparation, the sports leagues are now openly supporting numerous state bills that would legalize sports betting, but with a catch: They are lobbying in favor of bills that give leagues a 1% off-the-top “integrity fee,” which could more accurately be called about 15-plus other things. MLB and the NBA also want rights to data and other favorable provisions that would give it greater control over legal sports betting.
A decision is expected in the Supreme Court Sports Betting Case, Christie v NCAA, in March or April (we think April 2 or 30).