Anticipating a Supreme Court win, New Jersey begins drafting sports gambling rules

In this Jan. 14, 2015, file photo, odds are displayed on a screen at a sports book owned and operated by CG Technology in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP Photo, File)

In this Jan. 14, 2015, file photo, odds are displayed on a screen at a sports book owned and operated by CG Technology in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP Photo, File)

As New Jersey awaits a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether sports betting will be allowed in the state, a bill introduced in the legislature would set some regulations for that wagering.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli, who said the bill has some rudimentary points on the operation and licensing of sports wagering activities, said it will be expanded depending on what the Supreme Court decides.

“They’re going to give us guidance, and if they feel it’s a states’ rights issue, and if they try to limit our state’s rights and say you can do it, but you can only do certain things,” he said. “Whatever they tell us we can do, we’ll take advantage of it in the short term and maybe argue something later.”

It’s unclear if racetracks and casinos would be able to start taking sports bets soon after a favorable court ruling or whether the legislation will be needed, said Burzichelli, D-Gloucester.

“There’s some discussion that we could go tomorrow, if the Supreme Court ruled our way,” he said. “But in the end, I personally feel the statute has got to be refreshed and properly structured once we understand the range the Supreme Court is going to grant us.”

New Jersey’s lawsuit claims the federal law that restricts sports betting to a handful of states is an unconstitutional violation of states’ rights.

Professional sports leagues maintain that expanding sports gambling would hurt the integrity of their games.

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