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New Jersey Legislature Approves Bill Legalizing Sports Betting

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TRENTON (CBS/AP) -- The New Jersey Legislature has given final approval to a bill legalizing sports betting.

The state Senate approved the bill Thursday afternoon shortly after the Assembly approved it.

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"New Jersey has led the way on sports betting and we will now capitalize on our decisive Supreme Court victory by putting in place a vibrant sports gaming industry," said state Senate President Steve Sweeney. "We can now seize the opportunity with a new sector of gaming that will help create jobs, generate economic growth and be an important boost to the casino industry and horse racing."

It now goes to the desk of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who hasn't said when he'll sign it.

For Atlantic City, many are hopeful that this move could help usher in a new era.

"If it can bring more business and opportunity for people to come and vacation and bring their families and bring in tax revenue, I guess it will help out," said Emerson Cottrell, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

"Just get the atmosphere a little different during football season, baseball season, especially in the playoffs,  it will probably bring a different energy," said Josh Baker, who lives in Atlantic City.

Tenicia Williams, of Tennessee, says, "Why not sports betting? Why go all the way to Vegas to get in on those funds when I could do it here in Atlantic City?

The big question is when?

Murphy's office says the bill will get a careful review, but won't estimate when the governor will act on it.

This legislative go-ahead comes two days behind Delaware. On Tuesday, the First State became the first state outside of Nevada to welcome sports wagering. New Jersey is still waiting on final approval from Governor Phil Murphy.

But according to our media partners at KYW Newsradio, this new plan comes with an amendment that would allow casinos and racetracks in the Garden State to open sports books before the governor signs off.

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In a statement to CBS3,  the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City implied that they will wait until they can review regulations, that will come with the governor's approval.

"Borgata applauds today's historic approval of regulated sports wagering legislation in the state of New Jersey," said Marcus Glover, President & Chief Operating Officer, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. "While the Governor must still sign the bill, we commend the swift action of the legislature following the recent Supreme Court decision. Borgata is already making preparations to offer an exceptional entertainment and sports betting product for our customers, built on the foundation of our company's decades of sports wagering experience in Nevada. As a licensed gaming operator, we will operate under all appropriate state regulatory guidelines. We are eager to review regulations as soon as they are issued by the Division of Gaming Enforcement."

Like Nevada, sports and traditional gambling would only apply to people over 21.

Last month, New Jersey won over the U.S. Supreme Court in a seven-year battle that opened the door to legalizing sports wagering here - and in other states.

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

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