For almost 10 years, the state of New Jersey has lobbied to make betting on professional and collegiate sports legal while facing several roadblocks. Today, the Garden State will officially allow sports betting, joining Delaware as the second state in the nation to do so.
After years of legal battles that cost millions in taxpayer dollars, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and a bit of legislative jockeying, legal sports betting will finally become a reality in New Jersey on Thursday morning.
At 10:30 a.m., Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport is scheduled to be the first place in New Jersey history to accept legal wagers on sports games.
It all starts when Gov. Phil Murphy places the first bet there. Other dignitaries — including former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, the retired lawmaker who spent years leading the state’s charge for sports betting — are also expected to be at the track.
“I’m thrilled to be doing it,” Murphy told sports-talk radio host Mike Francesa on Tuesday during an interview on WFAN. “It’s been a long time coming. Many, many years.”
Critics of sports betting believe it will spurn more gambling addiction and possibly could taint the outcomes of games. No evidence that sports betting will increase gambling addiction is available and observers will keep close attention on the happenings as the months progress.