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Lawmakers facing key decisions on sports betting rules

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(AP) โ€” New Jersey lawmakers are facing some key decisions Monday as they race to legalize sports betting after winning a case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Members of the state Senate and Assembly are scheduled to take up several measures that would authorize sports betting.

They’ll have to work out differences among the various proposals and make important decisions on how much the activity should be taxed.

New Jersey won a Supreme Court case last month, overturning a federal law that limited sports betting to only four states. Individual states are now free to pass laws legalizing gambling, if they desire.

New Jersey lawmakers hope to have a final bill passed and signed by the end of this week in their race to be among the first states to offer sports betting at casinos and racetracks following the court ruling. But, Delaware appears poised to be first, planning to take sports bets starting Tuesday.

At least one existing bill in New Jersey would provide the so-called “integrity fee” payments to the professional sports leagues that they are seeking to help police betting on their games. But, that provision will be stripped from any bill that advances and is ultimately approved, said Deputy Assembly Speaker John Burzichelli, a southern New Jersey Democrat.

One proposed version of the law would tax sports betting revenue at casinos and racetracks at the same 8 percent rate the casinos currently pay. An additional reinvestment obligation of 1.25 percent would be assessed, as well. That latter fee, when applied to racetrack winnings, would be used to provide payments of 0.75 percent to the municipality in which the betting operation takes place, and 0.5 percent paid to the county in which it is located.

An additional, higher tax rate is likely to be imposed on sports betting revenue won over the internet.

In addition to the Monmouth Park, Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway tracks, one bill would also make the former Atlantic City Race Course, in Mays Landing, eligible to offer sports betting โ€” if it were to reopen. It closed in 2015 and needs significant work.

The bill is likely to include a requirement that some portion of the proceeds from sports betting be used for programs to prevent or treat compulsive gambling.

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