Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (both R-Monmouth) today urged the Legislature to remove punitive language which would discourage sports betting from commencing operations prior to the approval of regulatory framework legislation.
“We understand the motivation to level the playing field which was the apparent goal of this language in the bill, however that goal was achieved already—sports betting has been held off for weeks,” said O’Scanlon. “This language only serves to enable sports betting to get caught up in the complicated—and apparently contentious—budget battle. The Legislature needs to amend, move, and pass this legislation by tomorrow without any unnecessary punitive language.”
After the United States Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting, facilities that had been constructed to accept wagers in anticipation of the decision announced their intention to begin operations nearly immediately.
Those efforts to begin operations were brought to a screeching halt by the introduction of S-2602, which includes a provision that would prevent a facility that accepts sports wagers prior to the legislation’s enactment from obtaining a sports wagering license that would be required to continue operations.
“The Legislature needs to move quickly to remove punitive language for any entity that would engage in sports betting in advance of the legislation’s enactment,” DiMaso continued. “If we don’t remove that provision, the bill risks being held hostage in budget negotiations. Neither side should have the opportunity to use this important legislation as a weapon.”
“Facilities in the state have been ready to start accepting wagers immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban. All of that effort and planning was stopped because of potential penalties. With summer upon us it is distressing and irresponsible to hold revenue hostage. We’ve been in constant contact with our colleagues in the Legislature to make sure the right choice is made here,” O’Scanlon concluded.