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Legal New Jersey sports betting began in 2018, mere months after the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting (PASPA). The industry was an overnight success and now regularly generates more betting handle than any other market, including Nevada. In 2021, it achieved a landmark milestone, surpassing $10 billion in total wagers taken. Over 20 NJ betting sites and companion apps bring the action to sports bettors across the state, while those who prefer to do their betting in person can visit one of 11 retail sportsbooks at casinos and race tracks.
State of New Jersey Sports Betting Overview
New Jersey first legalized sports betting in 2012. A series of lawsuits by the NCAA, NBA, NFL, and NHL halted the gambling expansion until 2018 when the state passed a new law after the federal ban ended. New Jersey had its first $1 billion monthly handle in September 2021. To legally bet on sports in NJ, you must be 21 or older. You can’t be a member of any gambling self-exclusion lists. Affiliated personnel are prohibited from wagering on their sports. There’s no residency requirement, but you must be within state lines to place bets. Wagering on professional and college sports is legal. Betting on in-state college teams or events taking place in NJ is not legal. No betting on high school sports or on events in which the majority of athletes are younger than 18. Election betting and betting on the weather are not legal. Bets on the Oscars or Emmys, however, are legal.
State of New Jersey Sports Betting Timeline
Dec. 28, 2023 — A New York man won $225,000 on the Tipico casino app while in New Jersey. The man placed a $90 wager on the Land O’ Loot LuckyTap slots game.
Dec. 18, 2023 — The NJ sports betting handle set a new monthly record with $1.62 billion in bets in November. That total was a 25% increase month-over-month and 20% higher than the previous record.
Dec. 15, 2023 — NJ sports betting exchange Mojo reportedly laid off 20% of its staff as it struggles to grow in the state.
Dec. 13, 2023 — NJ lawmakers have advanced a bill requiring colleges in the state to offer a gambling addiction awareness program.
Dec. 6, 2023 — NJ lawmakers have postponed a vote on a bill banning smoking inside Atlantic City casinos. Those casinos are currently exempt from New Jersey indoor-smoking laws.
Nov. 29, 2023 — Kindred, Unibet’s parent company, announced plans to exit North America by the end of Q2 in 2024.
Nov. 29, 2023 — Global Tote, a pari-mutuel betting service provider, announced a ten-year deal with Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford.
The road to legal New Jersey sports betting began in 2011 with a voter referendum. But the 2012 law that followed went through nearly a decade of federal lawsuits and appeals before finally coming before the US Supreme Court in December 2017. At issue was the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, which limited sports betting to Nevada (and a couple of other grandfathered states) and prevented New Jersey from legalizing the activity in any form. Once the court ruled PASPA unconstitutional in 2018, the ball was in New Jersey’s court — and it hasn’t dropped it since.
Since its inception in 2018, the legal sports betting industry has grown rapidly in New Jersey. Here are some of the key yearly highlights since its debut.
2022: The launch of online New York sports betting in January creates uncertainty regarding the future performance of New Jersey sportsbooks. So far, although New York sports betting has taken US sports wagering to new heights, New Jersey sportsbooks have experienced a somewhat moderate decline year-over-year. The latest reports indicate YOY reductions on the order of 10% to 20%, which is significant but is not the calamity some may have feared following the Empire State’s legalization of online betting. Meanwhile, the roster of sportsbook apps continues to fluctuate, with theScore closing shop in July. Fubo and Prophet Exchange arrived just before the NFL kickoff weekend.
2021: Outside of the slower months of July and August, NJ sports betting handle is at least $740 million monthly for the first three quarters. The state has its first $1 billion month in September and breaks its record a month later. In November, New Jersey voters rejected an expansion of college sports betting to include in-state schools and events, with nearly 57% of voters opposed. The state faces an unknown competitive element with the anticipated launch of online sportsbooks in New York.