New Jersey Gov. Murphy signed a bill allowing sports betting into law Monday afternoon, ending a short delay that had drawn criticism from many state politicians and making history after the state’s six-year battle to legalize sports wagering.
“Today, we’re finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey,” Murphy said in a statement. “This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy.”
The law makes New Jersey the second state, after Delaware, to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court ruled to strike down the federal ban on sports gambling. Three weeks after that decision, New Jerseyans now will be able to bet legally at sports-wagering lounges on most professional, collegiate, and amateur sporting events.
Monmouth Park Racetrack, which has been ready to start betting for weeks, planned Monday to open the books Thursday, according to multiple reports.
Online sports betting cannot begin until 30 days after the bill is signed.
The New Jersey Racing Commission will meet to discuss regulations Wednesday, then creates regulations that Murphy must ratify, according to the governor’s statement.
“We can now capitalize on the opportunities we worked for with a new sector of sports gaming that will help create jobs, generate economic activity and be an important boost to the state’s casinos and racetracks,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney. “We will see sports betting get up and running and we intend to see that New Jersey continues to be a leader with a sports gaming industry that thrives. Our efforts will pay off.”
The bill was passed by the legislature Thursday, but Murphy did not sign it immediately, and the state Racing Commission sent a letter to some racetracks warning them not to begin taking bets until the bill was signed.
In the meantime, criticism of Murphy for failing to sign the bill began mounting. His delay in signing “will go down in history as one of the most bungled state policies anywhere, anytime!” Sen. Declan O’Scanlon (R., Monmouth) wrote on Facebook.
This story will be updated.