October 28, 1992 was a sad day for sports betting enthusiasts in the United States. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, officially terminated legal online sports betting in all but four states. One of the exempt states was Nevada, the only place in the US that permitted single-game sports betting when the PASPA was introduced.
Two decades later, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie took it upon himself to overturn this law, taking his case all the way to the US Supreme Court. At the time, the move was considered a long shot. So, how does the story end? Is sports betting legal in NJ today?
The court process in which the state fought against top sports leagues ended up costing taxpayers about $1 million. The state may not have had a strong connection to sports betting at the time, but New Jersey quickly became the gambling industry’s crusader. After six years of legal battles, the Supreme Court ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional, and the act was ultimately overturned in May 2018. As a result, all states have been given the authority to determine the legality of sports betting within their borders.
Unsurprisingly, New Jersey acted quickly. Just a month after PASPA was struck down, Borgata Casino and Monmouth Park made history by becoming the first NJ sports betting venues. As expected, other states followed in NJ’s footsteps, and many more are in the process of doing so.
Nowadays, the Garden State is the country’s sports betting capital. Legal sportsbooks are available both at casinos and racetracks, as well as via online and mobile platforms.
Have the Efforts to Legalize Sports Betting in NJ Paid Off?
In the first year after sports betting was legalized, New Jersey took in more than $2.9 billion in sports bets, which resulted in almost $200 million in revenue for the sportsbooks operating in the state. According to local officials, the lifting of the ban on sports betting was followed by a significant rise in the number of visitors to Atlantic City. Billions of dollars in bets later, industry leaders, gaming experts, and the state’s officials all agree that New Jersey’s years-long legal wrangling to legalize sports wagering paid off big time.
Over the last few years, many other states embraced sports gambling just like NJ. But the latter remains at the forefront, with Atlantic City casinos and racetracks opening their doors to sports bettors within days after the new regulations came into force. Online and mobile casinos quickly followed in the footsteps of brick-and-mortar betting destinations and started offering their services to New Jersey residents.
New Jersey Sports Betting Regulations
Here’s an overview of the current regulations regarding sports betting according to the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety:
- Sports betting legality: Legal in-state
- Launch date: June 14, 2018
- Land-based sportsbooks: Legal in Atlantic City and at racetracks
- Online sportsbook: Legal
- Mobile sports betting apps: Legal
- Minimum sports betting age: 21 years old
- In-play/live betting capabilities: Land-based, online, and mobile destinations
- Commission: New Jersey Casino Control Commission
- Licensing fee: $100,000
- Tax rate: 8.5% land-based betting, 13% casino-based online betting, 14.25% racetrack-based online betting
Mobile and Online Sports Betting in NJ
Some states have legalized sports wagering at physical outlets but don’t necessarily allow online and mobile betting. As we’ve already mentioned, that is not the case with New Jersey. Not only is mobile wagering permitted in the state, but it’s also the most popular way to place bets. In 2019, approximately 80% of all wagers were made on mobile devices. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic drove the share of mobile bets to approximately 90%. Note that while online wagering allows betting enthusiasts to place bets from the comfort of their homes, they still have to be physically located in the state to make bets.
So, is sports betting legal in NJ for those who don’t reside in the state? The simple answer is yes. But non-residents have to visit New Jersey and stay within state boundaries while making their wagers, regardless of whether they prefer betting at casinos, racetracks, or using their smartphones. Note that there isn’t a way to work around this rule as state-licensed NJ online sports betting platforms use geo-targeting technology to restrict players located outside the state’s jurisdiction from accessing the apps.
NJ online casinos and poker sites started popping up in November 2013. Nowadays, there are more than a dozen online and mobile sportsbooks licensed for use in the Garden State. The list includes industry giants such as SugarHouse, Caesars Casino & Sportsbook, BetMGM, William Hill, and 888sport.
You may be wondering if an offshore online sportsbook can operate in NJ?. Unfortunately, they can’t. The only sports betting sites allowed to accept wagers in NJ are those licensed and regulated by the state. If you stumble upon a casino website with a domain ending in .eu, .lv, or .ag, note that these platforms don’t have permission to offer their services to NJ bettors.
When accessing a new site, remember to look for the official New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) seal before you place a bet. The seal should be displayed in the site’s footer.
NJ Sports Gambling Rules
The rules and limitations set on NJ bettors largely depend on individual sportsbooks and the circumstances. However, there are a few state-wide rules that apply to everyone:
- You cannot bet on college teams from New Jersey, even if the game is being played in another state. Rutgers is the only FBS football team in New Jersey. However, there is a host of Division I basketball programs with lines on their games, such as Monmouth, Fairleigh Dickinson, NJIT, Princeton, Rider, Seton Hall, and Saint Peter’s.
- Betting on college events taking place in New Jersey is not permitted. Any neutral-site games such as bowl games and NCAA Tournament regionals happening in New Jersey cannot be wagered on.
- Rules governing sports betting in New Jersey don’t permit betting on high school games.
When will sports betting be legal in NJ?
Sports betting has been legal in NJ since 2018. The launch of the Garden State’s sports betting platforms signaled the end of a legal battle that lasted nearly a decade. The court battle to legalize sports wagering involved multimillion-dollar endeavor against the five largest US sports leagues – the NCAA, NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB – that fought against legalization. The legal wrangling surrounding NJ sports betting legislation was initiated by former NJ Governor Chris Christie and completed by newly elected Governor Phil Murphy. The struggle to make betting legal in the state of New Jersey lasted for over a decade.
Can you bet on NJ teams in NJ?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question. While there aren’t many blanket rules for NJ sports betting online and in-person, there are a few that you must follow. First, you aren’t allowed to bet on college teams from New Jersey, even if the game is being played in another state. Second, betting on college events that take place in New Jersey isn’t permitted. Third, you cannot bet on high school games.
Can I bet online in New Jersey?
Yes, you can. However, there are a few conditions a bettor must meet to be able to make wagers. According to New Jersey online sports betting regulations, you must be at least 21 years old. Second, you need to be located within state boundaries; this rule applies for placing bets both at brick-and-mortar locations and online gambling destinations.
Note that all sites employ geo-targeting technology to restrict players located outside the state’s borders from accessing the apps. Third, New Jersey casinos and any other gambling venues you’ve decided to place a bet with must be regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. So, is sports betting legal in NJ? The short answer is yes. All you have to do is follow the aforementioned rules.