New Jersey Encouraging Early Licensing for Sports Betting

New Jersey gaming regulators are encouraging businesses and firms interested in offering sports betting in the state to apply for casino service licensing, even as it awaits a decision on the issue from the U.S. Supreme Court.

New Jersey has been waiting to offer sports betting for years and as a decision on the state’s latest sports betting law from the U.S. Supreme Court draws near officials are advising sports-betting firms to move quickly to apply for licensing.

The court is expected to rule on the state’s challenge to a federal sports betting ban in the next few months, and could rule on the issue in early March. New Jersey wants to allow sports betting at its Atlantic City casinos and also at the state’s racetracks.

Ahead of the decision, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is encouraging businesses and individuals interested in sports betting to apply for a casino service industry license.

“The Division of Gaming Enforcement 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,” David Rebuck, director of the Division of Gaming Enforcement, said in a statement to ESPN. “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.”

New Jersey has been trying to overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act—which bans sports betting in all but four states—for more than five years. This is actually the second time the state has challenged the ban after a first attempt was blocked in federal court. The Supreme Court did not hear the state’s first challenge.

In its second attempt, the state sought to bypass the federal restriction by allowing self-regulated sports betting at casinos and racetracks. Federal courts blocked that bill as well, but the Supreme Court then decided to hear the case. The Court could back New Jersey’s second sports betting law, but could also choose to strike down PASPA completely.

Still, the current state law being reviewed by the Court allows sports betting without licensing, but did restrict that sports betting to already licensed casinos and racetracks. That would mean that businesses working with casinos would need casino service licensing.

Operators already licensed in New Jersey are also preparing for the ruling. Monmouth Park racetrack has partnered with UK bookmaker William Hill and plans add a Las Vegas-style sportsbook on the grounds. The Borgata casino in Atlantic City has also named a location for a sportsbook in its casino.