If and when the United States Supreme Court rules to allow sports betting in the Garden State, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) wants to be ready for a prompt rollout.
To that end, the NJDGE began “sportsbook product review sessions” this week with SG Digital, the sports betting vertical maintained by Scientific Games.
In a press release issued April 16, SG Digital announced that the NJDGE was interested in the company’s proprietary OpenBet platform. The statement also made explicit mention of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992, the federal sports betting ban currently under consideration by the Court.
Keith O’Loughlin, who serves as senior vice president of sportsbook and platforms for SG Digital, offered the following comments on OpenBet testing:
“Legalized sports betting in the U.S. is an exciting prospect for us, and we’re taking every step possible to ensure our product offering is fully compliant to hit the ground running when the marketplace eventually opens up beyond the current regulated states.
OpenBet has built a strong reputation as a trusted sportsbook provider in Europe, and we’re confident we can replicate that success in the U.S. and all other emerging regulatory territories.
We have spent time considering U.S. customer needs and are focused on ensuring that the user experience is of high standard and can be delivered with speed.”
Matt Davey, a group chief executive at SG Digital, followed up with a statement on the company’s growing interest in entering the New Jersey marketplace:
“SG Digital has a strong presence in New Jersey with our Open Platform System (OPS) already certified in the state; our knowledge of the market will play an important part in preparing OpenBet for the marketplace.
We work closely with the DGE to ensure responsible gaming experiences and congratulate the effort of the DGE and the state of New Jersey for taking progressive action to help create a safer sports betting market for the public.
We are setting the foundations well in advance to help our partners establish themselves early in the emerging territory.”
While the NJDGE declined to offer comment in the press release, or following a request from Legal Sports Report, the state’s top gaming regulator is adopting an anticipatory approach to PASPA reform.
Back in February, David Rebuck – the longest tenured director in NJDGE history – spoke to iGaming industry stakeholders during the ICE Totally Gaming expo in London. From the dais, Rebuck urged sportsbook operators, of both the brick and mortar and online variety, to get in on the Garden State’s ground floor by submitting license applications:
“Even if you don’t have a partner, nothing stops you from submitting your application for a license to do sports wagering.
Most of you, from an integrity standpoint, will be able to get in the door now. And if you can’t, we will tell you you’re not going to make it.
Don’t sit back and wait for the regulations. If you sit and wait you will be left behind.”
The eagerness to embrace legalized sports betting isn’t limited to regulators.
Major casinos like the Borgata in Atlantic City have already started construction on specialized sports bar facilities, which can quickly be converted into full-fledged sportsbooks should the Court rule against PASPA.
The Court heard oral arguments in the case of Murphy v. NCAA (formerly known as Christie v. NCAA) in December, and the consensus among legal minds is that a majority of Justices were sympathetic to the New Jersey’s case.
The next date on which Court rulings will be rendered is April 30, but information on which cases will be decided is not made public. Thus, a decision on Murphy v. NCAA could be handed down then, or on other predetermined dates (May 14, May 21, May 29, June 4, June 11, June 8 or June 29) throughout the summer.