After the Supreme Court ruling Monday that allows states to legalize sports betting, one New Jersey racetrack is expected to be the first venue to begin accepting wagers.
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William Hill, the U.K.-based sports book, said it will be open for business “as soon as responsibly possible” at Monmouth Park, likely making it the first venue to jump into the sports-betting market following the historic court decision.
“We’ve been working towards this day for a long time and take great satisfaction in the Supreme Court’s decision,” Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, said in a statement. “Just as we have with our 100+ locations in Nevada, we look forward to working to make legal and regulated sports betting a big winner for consumers, state governments and all interested parties across the country.”
In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court sided with New Jersey in the state’s challenge to a federal law prohibiting state-authorized sports gambling, with some exceptions. Nevada is the only state where gamblers can place a bet on individual games.
New Jersey is expected to be first in line to open the betting windows. Lawmakers in the Garden State had passed legislation paving the way for legal sports betting, and the state could soon vote on how to regulate and tax it, according to The Wall Street Journal. Voters in the Garden State previously amended the state constitution in 2011 to accept sports gambling.
Monmouth Park, a state-owned property that’s operated by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, has already begun construction of a sports-betting parlor in anticipation of a favorable outcome at the Supreme Court. The track installed rows of televisions to display sports odds and built counters where clerks will process bets for William Hill’s sports book.
It’s possible that Monmouth Park will begin accepting sports bets in as little as two weeks, according to ESPN reporter Darren Rovell.
“If we do this the right way, the only losers will be the illegal bookies that have been operating a massive black market,” Asher said.
Monmouth Park estimates that it will take in $750 million in sports bets each year. The racetrack processes about $400 million in bets annually. The legal sports-betting market is worth about $57 billion nationwide, according to a Jefferies analysis cited by The Associated Press.
Shares of William Hill surged nearly 11% in London.