Select Page

Gambling has had a long legacy in New Jersey. Other than Nevada, New Jersey has been known for offering innovative ways to wager and games involving changes. Freehold Raceway is the oldest racetrack in the United States, and horse racing has been taking place there since the 1830s.

The New Jersey Legislature banned pari-mutuel gambling in 1894. Just three years later, the voters approved a referendum that amended the state constitution that ultimately banned all types of gambling. In 1953, voters voiced their opinions which permitted non-profit organizations to hold bingo games and raffles.

There was opposition to these types of games as the voters and legislators went back and forth. Due to the popularity of these games of chance over a couple of decades, 81.5 percent of Garden State voted in favor of the creation of the New Jersey Lottery. At the time, Gov. William T. Cahill purchased the state’s first lottery ticket.

In 1975, New Jersey created the Pick-It that was eventually renamed the Pick-3 This was the first-ever lottery that allowed players to pick their own numbers for a chance to win money.

New Jersey did not stop there as the state looked to expand its gambling ventures. Casinos and other gaming facilities fought hard to operate in the state.

PASPA’s Effect on New Jersey

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was enacted on January 1st, 1993, which allowed Nevada to become the gambling destination in the United States. The Silver State was the only location that offered sports betting to its residents and visitors all year round.

Eventually, gambling at casinos was permitted in New Jersey as the first casino opened in 1978. With PASPA in effect, the only ticket to have sports betting was through the help of PASPA. Instead of denying any other location to offer sports betting, this was seen as a good opportunity to have one specific area or location for the East and West Coast.

New Jersey was seen as the prime location, specifically dedicated to Atlantic City. Atlantic City was seen as the second-biggest hub to host this type of gambling behind Las Vegas.

Still, sports betting in the state seemed like a dream as the PASPA context and structure was backed by Democratic Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey who was a former New York Knicks player.

The framework was quite simple as the PASPA was going to give any state that had ten years of uninterrupted years of gambling the keys to establishing Vegas-style markets within the time of a year of the PASPA being enacted. New Jersey ended up being the only state that was qualified to potentially launch a sports betting market.

New Jersey was given allotted time for the state government to pass bills needed to establish a sports betting market. As of January 1st, 1994, sports betting was prohibited to begin operations. Nevada has been the only market that offered sports betting during PASPA’s reign, which brought financial struggles to casinos across the United States.

Adversely, Atlantic City was hit the hardest for a couple of decades. New Jersey law states that gambling establishments can not legally operate without the government overseeing from the New Jersey Casino Control Commission which led to the closures of the casinos in Atlantic City.

As part of the closures, the state lost $1.3 million in revenue, and additional taxes collected for employee wages. Atlantic City still has yet to reach the peak which was reached in 2006 in the casino aspect. The temporary closure has led other states to create their gaming legislation.

New Jersey has fought a long way against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act to pave the way for the sports betting industry.

Retail Sportsbooks include:

Gaming FacilitySportsbook OperatorLocation
The MeadowlandsFanDuel Sportsbook, PointsBetEast Rutherford
BorgataBetMGM Cage in BorgataAtlantic City
CaesarsScientific GamesAtlantic City
Freehold RacewayTBATBA
Golden NuggetScientific Games/SB TechOpen
Hard Rock Sportsbook ACGIGAtlantic City Boardwalk
Harrah’sScientific GamesOpen
Monmouth Park RacetrackCaesars SportsbookOceanport
Monmouth Park SportsbookCaesars SportsbookOceanport
Ocean Resort CasinoCaesars SportsbookOpen

Pushing For Mobile Sports Betting

Sports betting in the Garden State was not considered until 2011, and it all started with a non-binding binding referendum was conducted in the state that year. This meant an amendment to the state’s constitution would take place to allow sports betting.

Years later, leagues believed that sports betting would ruin the integrity of the many sports leagues. The case between Governor Phil Murphy and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was for overturning the anti-gambling laws that did not give the individual state’s the right to make their own decisions.

This was a long process as there were a couple of hearings on this situation. The NCAA and the leagues made their case clear that they would stand still with their decision. May 14th, 2018 was a very important date for the sports betting industry.

After a long court battle, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state which made sports betting legal on June 14th, 2018. However, sports betting in the state has a few restrictions. Bettors across the state can’t place wagers on Division 1 college games.

The schools include Rutgers, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, NJIT, Princeton, Rider, Saint Peter’s, and Seton Hall.

Online sports betting is allowed, but the provider must operate a land-based venue for people to place wagers. Casinos and racetracks that want to offer mobile sports betting are bound to the same rules.

Casinos without a physical sportsbook in their establishment will have the opportunity to operate an online sportsbook for up to 270 days operate an online betting site while they find and host a retail location.

New Jersey sports teams have been able to reap the benefits of having the top sports betting market before New York’s market was established. The New Jersey Devils have extended partnerships with Caesars and FanDuel. The New York Jets also have a deal with 888casino.

New Jersey also had the biggest sports betting handle before the Empire State launched mobile sports betting. Regardless New Jersey has historical significance in the sports betting industry.