Law Paves Way For Horse Betting At NJ Restaurants & Taverns

TRENTON – Legislation intended to boost New Jersey’s horse racing industry by allowing wagering in taverns and restaurants has been signed into law.

The law directs the New Jersey Racing Commission to implement a pilot program for taverns, restaurants and similar establishments in the northern part of the state to provide electronic wagering terminals (A-4285).

Under the law, the New Jersey Racing Commission will implement a pilot program to license a limited number of eligible taverns, restaurants and similar venues where food, alcoholic beverages – or both – are served to the public for on-premises consumption, in the northern part of the state to provide patrons with the ability to place wagers on horse races through electronic wagering terminals. The terminals would be subject to the commission’s regulation and control.

Each license issued under the pilot program will be temporary, subject to review and renewal on an annual basis, and would expire within three years of issuance of each initial license.

The law limits the pilot program to eligible venues in Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Passaic, Union, Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties and northern Middlesex and Ocean counties.

Finally, it directs the commission to issue a report to the governor and to the Legislature within three years of the issuance of the first license under the pilot program. The report will contain an evaluation of the pilot program, provide the commission’s opinion as to whether the pilot program should be continued and, if so, recommendations for further improvement and implementation.

The pilot program will end upon the expiration of the last license issued under the program unless the Legislature enacts a law to continue the program.

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