A bill to legalize fixed-odds horse racing within New Jersey has been approved by unanimous votes in both the state’s Senate and Assembly.
Referred to as the Fixed Odds Wagering Act, the legislation will allow customers to place fixed-odds horse racing bets through official license holders approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, rather than only pari-mutuel bets.
The bill was first passed by the Assembly last month, with 74 votes in favour, none against and one abstention. It then when to the Senate, where it was amended before being passed by a 40-0 margin. Because of this amendment, it then returned to the Assembly for final approval, which it received with a 71-0 vote.
Under the bill, license holders will be obligated to pay a share of their revenue (determined by the operating board) to the standardbred or thoroughbred permit holder.
Any person on the state’s self exclusion list that places a bet will not be able to collect any winnings, and any operator that allows a person on the self-exclusion list to do so could be fined up to $5000 and have their license suspended.
Money obtained from such wagers is to be deposited into the State General Fund for use by the Legislature to the Department of Human Services, who will look to provide funds for problem gambling treatment and prevention programs in the State.
The bill said: “The horse racing industry is economically important to this State, and the general welfare of the people of the State will be promoted by the advancement of horse racing and related projects and facilities in the State.
“It is the intent of the Legislature, by authorizing fixed odds wagering, to promote the economic future of the horse racing industry in this State, to foster the potential for increased commerce, employment, and recreational opportunities in this State and to preserve the State’s open spaces.”
The bill will now head to Governor Phil Murphy to be signed into law.
The introduction of fixed-odds horse racing wagering will only add to New Jersey’s gaming revenue, which experienced a 290.4% year-on-year increase last month.