Sports betting bill expected to pass New Jersey legislature

(Reuters) – New Jersey’s legislature is expected to pass a bill on Thursday to regulate and tax sports betting at casinos and racetracks, which would make it one of the first states to legalize the activity following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month.

Governor Phil Murphy still would have to sign the legislation before operators could start taking sports wagers.

A state legislative committee advanced the bill on Tuesday without any of the fraud-fighting measures requested by professional sports leagues.

New Jersey and other states are racing for a piece of the estimated $150 billion spent on illegal annual wagers in the United States, after the court in May overturned a 1992 law that had banned sports wagering except in a few places, including Las Vegas.

Delaware, which already had limited sports wagers, rolled out full-scale betting on Tuesday.

In New Jersey, the U.S. unit of UK-based William Hill PLC has for years been preparing a sports books at Monmouth Park Racetrack.

In New Jersey’s fiscally stressed gambling hub Atlantic City, William Hill also plans to operate a 7,500 square foot, $6 million sports book gaming area at the former Revel Casino, which is now called the Ocean Resort Casino and is set to open later in June.

Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Bill Trott

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