Some Excited, Others Concerned About Legalized Sports Betting in NJ

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Governor Phil Murphy attended the AFL-CIO conference in Atlantic City on Tuesday, June 12th, and spoke about the many positive changes that he said are happening in the state. One of the most recent, he said, was legalizing sports betting.

Murphy signed the bill on Monday, June 11th, legalizing wagering throughout the state and says it's an exciting thing happening here in New Jersey and an accomplishment for his administration.

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"I think it’s a potential game changer. It doesn’t necessarily give us a ton of money in the budget, but it gives us sort of a, ‘Man, that’s a good thing,’" said Murphy. "I think it’s got a big knock-on impact on particular economies and right here in Atlantic City is one of the prime examples of that. I think it’s a terrific step."

But many people are still apprehensive. Popular opinion from locals and visitors in Atlantic City the day of the conference was that they believe legalized sports betting will be positive for the state, but others say it's raising concerns.

“I think it’s great if everybody has a million dollars in their bank or their wallet," said Judy Onesti, of Manchester, NJ. "There are so many people that don’t have that availability of money like that and I think it could be a bad influence on a lot of people."

“It’s no different than drinking," said business owner, Ty Smith, of Ogdensburg, NY. "You’ve got some good drinkers and some bad drinkers. You’ve got some good gambles and some bad gamblers."

Others said whether it's legal or not, it's been happening throughout the country for years, and could be a good opportunity for the state to benefit financially.

“As far as legalizing sports betting, I think that people are doing it anyway and if they legalize it, it’s just a way for the state to make some money on something that’s happening anyway," said John Fogerty, of Boston, Mass.

“I think that it will bring a lot of revenue to New Jersey," said Lucile Homowitz, of Ocean County. "Maybe more people will be able to be employed. And that’s my thoughts on it. And I’m in total agreement — much needed revenue in New Jersey."

Sports betting in New Jersey will officially begin Thursday morning, June 14th in North Jersey at Monmouth Park. Gov. Murphy will be in attendance placing one of the first legal bets. 

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