In an exclusive interview, the Director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) said he is “more optimistic than ever” that the state will be able to regulate sports betting.
New Jersey attempted to legalise sports betting at racetracks and casinos last year, but the law was blocked by the District Court after four major North American sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association filed suit.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals granted the state of New Jersey’s petition for rehearing the case en banc, after the court decided in a 2-1 vote in August that the law would violate the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.
To me, if you’re allowed to have sports wagering in the state of New Jersey, then the next action by the state of New Jersey will be to authorise our citizens to have sports wagering offered through the internet - legally and regulated.David Rebuck
Should the state of New Jersey eventually be successful, regulating online sports wagering would be the next step.
Rebuck said: “As you probably well know, we were advised a while back that the Third Circuit will hear the case en banc. That is probably the first time that we had a small victory in our efforts to date. Will that transpire to a win? I don’t know, but it certainly allows for a dialogue and a briefing before the entire Third Circuit, which is unusual.
“Winning sports gambling is one case. If we win that, here’s the next case we have to win: Change the sports wagering prohibition to allow for sports wagering to be performed on the internet.
“If we lose sports wagering, then I don’t have to worry about it, because we’re never going to do it. To me, if you’re allowed to have sports wagering in the state of New Jersey, then the next action by the state of New Jersey will be to authorise our citizens to have sports wagering offered through the internet - legally and regulated.”
According to Rebuck, the issue of regulating daily fantasy sports in the state will have to wait while the state deals with the issue of attempting to legalise sports wagering.
A New Jersey Assembly Committee hearing on the matter was held earlier this month, while Senator Jim Whelan plans to introduce a bill to regulate the market.
“The DGE already authorised our casinos to engage in fantasy sports play,” Rebuck said. “We have regulations on it and have authorised our casinos to engage in that action. They have not chosen to do so.
“With the federal laws there are in this area, it’s not clear. But we should not be diverted and taken away from our number one issue in the expansion of gambling in New Jersey. That’s the one we’re focused on. If we lose that again, and we’ll know soon, because the hearing could probably be in the next 90 days, then we’ll adapt and see what’s next on our horizon.”
Rebuck also said that criticisms of the DGE’s decision to allow PokerStars and Full Tilt to enter the New Jersey real-money i-gaming market are “unfounded” and that any companies licensed by the DGE will be “dealt with accordingly” should they go astray.
You can read more of what Rebuck had to say in the January/February 2016 issue of Gambling Insider.