By Julie Glass
New Jerseyans are finally going to get a chance to legally bet on sports this Thursday.
Gov. Philip D. Murphy signed a bill yesterday that legalizes wagering, with gambling set to start on Thursday — just in time for the start of the World Cup.
“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” Murphy said in the statement. “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.”
The New Jersey Racing Commission handles licensing for the racetracks. The commission has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday, presumably to accept applications and distribute licenses to operators, a step that is expected to enable Monmouth Park to begin accepting bets as early as Thursday.
Dennis A. Drazin, the operator of Monmouth Park who helped lead the charge to make sports betting legal in the Garden State, heralded the governor’s action as “a great day for New Jersey.”
“I look forward to the governor joining us at Monmouth Park Racetrack on Thursday morning to usher in a new era for New Jersey by placing the first bet,” Mr. Drazin said.
The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa is the only casino that is prepared to immediately begin taking bets, transforming some betting windows at its horse-racing facility into a temporary sports-gambling site until a permanent venue is completed. Casino officials, however, would not specify when the Borgata would begin taking bets.
“We are moving ahead with all possible speed to begin accepting legal sports bets as soon as required regulatory approvals are in place,” said a statement from MGM Resorts International, which owns the Borgata.
Atlantic City’s six other casinos continue to prepare for sports betting. Some need to build space; others need a sports-book partner to help set up a gambling operation.