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Gov. Murphy Signs New Jersey Sports Betting Bill Into Law

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Place your bets, New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy Monday signed a bill making sports betting legal starting Thursday.

"Today, we're finally making the dream of legalized sports betting a reality for New Jersey," said Murphy. "This is the right move for New Jersey and it will strengthen our economy."

The state Legislature passed the bill Thursday. Under the bill, anyone 21 or older can place a sports bet at licensed casinos or racetracks.

Last week, New Jersey residents wondered why there was an apparent delay in signing the bill.

"I want sports betting. Believe me, I want to place the first bet in New Jersey, if I can," Murphy said Friday. "But we want to make sure we're doing it right. We just got the bill, so we're going through it. We're not going to sit on it."

For the past month, racetracks like Monmouth have been ramping up with new monitors, 15 new betting stations and 50 new employees. The only thing missing was the signature.

The governor said the delay was based on the level of detail in the review process.

The bill prohibits betting on any New Jersey college sports of collegiate events that take place in the Garden State, excluding tournaments like March Madness.

When it comes to professional sports, it's fair game.

"There are different prop bets available, too," Vice President of Marketing for William Hill Public Relations Michael Grodsky said last week. "Offer one bet every day, how many total runs will be scored in every baseball game."

Dennis Drazin, the operator of Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, near the Jersey shore, says Murphy will place the first bet on Thursday. Restaurants near the racetrack say they're hoping the new attraction helps fill their tables.

"Traffic increase, so maybe twenty percent," Gus Koudantos from Side's Grill and Diner Cafe said. "The more traffic, somebody's going to stop in here too."

Officials at Monmouth hope the additional revenue will help them come up with the cash to bring Triple Crown-winner Justify to the park for the Haskell Invitational in July. Meanwhile, Meadowlands Racetrack owner Jeff Gural says they're working on a temporary facility.

"Our goal is to open by mid to late July then have the online systems open for the football seasons," he told CBS2's Lisa Rozner.

Games played on site will be taxed 8.5 percent, and lawmakers say it will mean big business.

"I think it's bigger than what people are anticipating as low as $13 million," Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28th), chairman of the state Tourism, Gaming & Arts Committee said.

Online betting won't be permitted for another 30 days. Those bets will be taxed at 13 percent.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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