New Jersey encourages operators to apply for sports betting licences

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has encouraged sports betting operators to apply for a licence in the state, as the legalisation of sports betting in the USA looks to have taken another step forward.

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New Jersey could become the first state outside of Nevada to have legalised sports betting. © Pexels.

Director of the DGE, David Rebuck, was speaking at the ICE Totally Gaming event in London earlier this month when he told the crowd that operators should immediately apply for licences in the state, or they could get left behind.

The licence operators must acquire is the Ancillary Casino Service Industry Enterprise (ACSIE) licence.

However, Rebuck’s remarks come without New Jersey having the proper authority to issue sports betting licences.

Currently, lawmakers all across America are discussing the legalisation of sports betting, with New Jersey leading the charge.

The process has been a long time underway. Back in 2014, Governer Chris Christie signed a new sports betting bill for the state, to start to pave the way for legalisation. In December 2017, the state and other advocates argued the case to the US Supreme Court in an appeal hearing, after losing numerous lower-court decisions.

There is no set date for the Supreme Court’s decision, though it is expected at some point in the first half of the year.

Speaking to ESPN, Rebuck said:

The DGE 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.David Rebuck, Director of the DGE.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act

In its current state, New Jersey’s latest sports betting bill, the 2014 Sports Wagering Act, does not authorise sports betting within the state. Rather, it would allow more flexible regulation at the state level, whereby New Jersey could effectively not enforce anti sports betting laws. The state’s ban on sports betting would effectively be repealed, though the state would not be involved in licensing.

This is currently not possible due to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which restricts single-game sports betting to the state of Nevada. Officials in New Jersey argue that PASPA is unconstitutional, given that states must continue to enforce the act despite voters no longer supporting its terms.

Lawmakers are essentially ruling on whether the state’s legislation is in violation of PASPA or not. Should the Supreme Court decide that the Sports Wagering Act is not in violation of PASPA, then the flood gates could open for legalised sports betting in the US.

Almost twenty states have introduced new sports betting legislation in anticipation of legislative change, as the entire industry, along with state officials, eagerly await the verdict.

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