Anyone looking to start betting on sporting events in New Jersey this Memorial Day Weekend may have rain on their parade.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, issued a statement Wednesday saying sports betting will not commence in the state until legislation is enacted.
Proposed legislation formally legalizing sports wagering in the state won’t be voted on until the June 7 session of the state Senate, Sweeney said.
“We’ve been fighting for this for seven years and we will move quickly to get the law in place, but it has to be done right, with the regulations, oversight and financing in place,” he said.
Right now, sports betting is technically legal in the state after the federal law prohibiting it was knocked down by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Monday.
But under the text of a bill circulating in the statehouse, any group that operates a sports betting pool before the regulations are rolled out will be barred from doing so for the foreseeable future.
Dennis Drazin, CEO of Darby Development LLC, the company that operates Monmouth Park Racetrack, indicated the facility will accede to the Legislature’s wishes despite having announced it would begin offering sports wagering May 28.
“If the governor, senate president, assembly speaker asked me to slow down, I would certainly cooperate with them,” Drazin said.
The racetrack would instead hold a ceremony on that date, Drazin said, where participants could “bet” on a charity of their choice.
“It’d be through charity only,” he said, adding that the racetrack wouldn’t get any of the proceeds.
Those being invited to the ceremony, according to Drazin, will be Sweeney, Gov. Phil Murphy, former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, former Gov. Chris Christie, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District, and other local officials.
Sports betting will begin by “June at the latest,” Drazin said. The deadline to pass the bill would be June 30, the last day of the current fiscal year.
Sweeney’s disclosure on the date for sports wagering was first reported by NJ Advance Media.