February 02, 2011

NJ legalises betting exchanges

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie yesterday signed bills to legalise exchange wagering and single-pool wagering, as part of a package aimed at propping up the Garden State’s ailing racing industries.

Christie said in a statement after applying his signature to Senate bills S-2229 and A-2926: “These measures represent the next steps in following through on my administration's commitment to securing a strong, independent, self-sufficient horse-racing industry in New Jersey. We are providing new tools to help the industry implement new strategies, generate additional revenue and capitalise on interest in horse racing around the state.”

S229 would allow the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to contract with a betting exchange operator to provide this form of wagering in the state.

The bill’s passage into law will have been welcomed by European-based betting exchanges Betfair and Global Betting Exchange-owned Betdaq. The formerentered the US in January 2009 with the US$50m purchase of horse racing TV and wagering network TVG. California last year passed a similar bill allowing for exchange wagering by 2012.

Christie now has 20 days left to decide whether or not to sign Senator Raymond Lesniak’s S490 egaming bill to allow Atlantic City’s casinos to offer online versions of their games. In addition to making New Jersey the first US state to license and regulate egaming, the bill would also redirect a portion of tax revenues raised towards New Jersey’s ailing horse racing industry.

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