Borgata Ready to Begin Offering Sports Betting in Atlantic City

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The New Jersey legislators voted unanimously Thursday to allow sports betting in the state's casinos and race tracks by a 110-0 vote.

For its part, the Borgata says it will begin offering sports betting as soon as Governor Phil Murphy signs off.

Dennis Drazen of Monmouth Park Racetrack was even more ecstatic, telling reporters they could begin taking bets this weekend.

"We're excited that this happened," said Drazin. "The long fight for all the years has finally reached a conclusion. The bill is on the way to the governor. We hope he signs it. This is a great victory for New Jersey, horse racing and the casinos."

Under the guidance of former Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey fought tooth and nail through various courts to legalize sports betting.  All of the professional sports leagues objected.  Ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against prohibition that had been in place since the early 90's.

For his part, the new Governor has supported the idea of being able to place bets on sporting events from within the state but says he needs to carefully read over the legislation before signing off.

Murphy has 45 days to act on the bill.  The casinos and Monmouth are hopeful he does so prior to the start of next week's FIFA World Cup.

"Governor Murphy looks forward to closely reviewing the sports betting legislation that was recently passed by the Legislature," Dan Bryan, press secretary for Murphy, said a statement. "The Governor has long been supportive of New Jersey's right to allow sports betting and he wants to ensure that the proposed regulatory scheme is fair and reasonable."

Operators will be prohibited from taking bets on New Jersey schools such as Rutgers and Seton Hall.  In the case of the Golden Nugget, that property will not be allowed to take bets on the National Basketball Association.  Its owner, Tilman Fertitta, also owns the NBA franchise Houston Rockets.

Research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming projects nearly $7.75 billion will be wagered annually in New Jersey when the market matures and includes online and mobile wagering.

- Ean Lamb,

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