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N.J. law authorizing sports betting expected to be in place Thursday

Supporters of the sports-betting legislation testify Monday at a New Jersey at Assembly Gaming Committee hearing. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Supporters of the sports-betting legislation testify Monday at a New Jersey at Assembly Gaming Committee hearing. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

A measure to set regulations for sports betting in New Jersey is advancing in the Legislature, and it could be ready for the governor’s signature as early as Thursday.

Bryan Seeley, the head of investigations for Major League Baseball, urged lawmakers Monday to add provisions to the legislation that would enable sports leagues to get information from casinos to help detect possible corruption.

“Part of my job is to protect the fans of baseball in this state, and I need tools to do that,” he said during a hearing of the Assembly Gaming Committee.

His request got a chilly response from Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, committee chairman.

“You guys are in it to make money. You’re not interested in protecting anybody. This is hypocrisy to the fullest extent,” declared Caputo, D-Essex. “This is ridiculous.”

He added he has confidence in the state Division of Gaming Enforcement to regulate the integrity of the sports-betting process.

Professional sports teams will profit from sports betting, predicted Dennis Drazin, chairman of Darby Development, the company that operates Monmouth Park race track.

“They’re going to make a lot of money. They’re going to have more viewership, more value,” he told lawmakers. “How many people really would watch an obscure game on a Monday night if they didn’t have some action on it?”

Monmouth Park is ready to start taking sports wagers as soon as Gov. Phil Murphy signs the legislation and the track gets its sports-betting license, Drazin said.

New Jersey last month won a Supreme Court case overturning a federal law that limited sports betting to only four states. States are now free to pass laws legalizing gambling.

New Jersey lawmakers hope to legalize betting by the end of this week in their race to be among the first states to offer sports betting at casinos and racetracks following the court ruling. Delaware plans to take sports bets starting Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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