New Jersey became the third state in the United States, after Delaware and Nevada, to legalize sports betting. The state allowed legal sports betting on June 14, 2018, almost a month after the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban. The ruling took place on May 12, 2018 and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state, which overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. This was a 1992 federal law that outlawed sports betting in every state except for Nevada. This case made sports wagering a state’s rights issue and now each state can choose if it wants to have sports betting and how to tax it and regulate it. The Supreme Court case took about seven years to conclude and took place between New Jersey and the NCAA, along with other major professional sports leagues that used the act to block states from offering sports betting.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) said that the only state that could have sports betting was Nevada. The driving force behind the bill was to protect the integrity of the game and to stop youth from betting on sports. It was also to prevent other states from legalizing spots betting. When the law was passed in 1992, New Jersey was one of the states that had a year to legalize the action but the state didn’t do so. Three states did take advantage of the one-year deadline to allow quasi-sports betting.
History of Sports Betting in New Jersey
New Jersey has been the driving force behind pushing for legal sports betting. In 2009, the state tried to bring a case that challenged the constitutionality of PASPA. A district court then dismissed the case. In 2011, a public question was on the November election ballot asking if the state constitution should be changed to allow wagering on amateur and professional sports at racetracks and casinos. This referendum passed. In 2012, legislation then amended the Casino Control Act, which allowed the Casino Control Commission to offer licenses to racetracks and casinos to take sports bets. Later, the governor and the state spoke about an intention to enact regulations to allow sports betting in Atlantic City. This is when the NCAA, NFL, and other leagues sued to block the state from allowing sports betting. The leagues won this lawsuit and got an injunction in federal court. This put a hold on legal betting in New Jersey. The leagues used the law to block the state from legalizing sports betting to help keep the integrity of the game. There are a lot of arguments against this. Sports leagues embraced and invested in daily fantasy sports and there were numerous sporting events that took place in Las Vegas. Even sports teams were moving to Las Vegas.
The next lawsuit, which was nicknamed “Christie I,” addressed the merits of the case and the constitutional arguments against PASPA under the 10th Amendment. There is a lot of gray area in the law that involves state sovereignty. New Jersey lost in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the court held that while there is some uniformity in the treatment among states, there is no such guarantee of fair treatment. This is why Nevada could have sports betting operations and New Jersey couldn’t. New Jersey did make an argument under the “Anti-Commandeering Doctrine,” but this argument did not convince the courts. The state did gain some traction with the arguments and gave an idea for a new approach of attack.
In 2014, there was a new plan in “Christie II” and the state passed a law that partially repealed state prohibitions against sports wagering. This effectively allowed sports betting without actually saying so. The Third Circuit did note the cleverness of the new law but didn’t favor the argument. The court rejected the anti-commandeering argument but didn’t address the equal sovereignty arguments. In 2016, the stated filed for a Supreme Court review, even though this was a long shot since the Supreme Court only accepts a small number of cases. The Supreme Court did hear the case, not because of being worried about sports betting but because of the way PASPA works. PASPA may be unconstitutional. The state argued that PASPA forces states to maintain laws against sports betting instead of the federal government creating laws to regulate directly. It argued that PASPA dictated a policy but didn’t create any framework to follow with a sports betting policy. This has bigger ramifications between state and federal laws.
Where and How to Place Bets
In the beginning, there were about nine sportsbooks that are open at racetracks and casinos across the state where you can place bets. However, more are opening as sports betting continues to grow in the state. There are also different betting apps currently taking action.
Monmouth Park Racetrack was the state’s first sportsbook and it opened on June 14, 2018. It spent a few years beforehand investing millions of dollars to convert a cafeteria into the William Hill Race & Sports Bar. The facility does get great views and has 22 betting windows. There are more than 50 TVs with hundreds of seats and it could hold up to 7,5000 people with expansion into the grandstand. There is also a video board that is 75 feet wide and 8 feet tall. The Sports Bar also takes live bets on its app.
Meadowlands Racetrack is the closest option for those who are in New York, since New York isn’t expected to legalize sports books until later in 2019. The FanDuel Sportsbook is located not far away from MetLife Stadium and opened on July 14, 2018. It has a 5,300 square foot set up and expanded sports lounge, which has 15 cashiers and 65 TVS. It remains open until all the live games in the U.S. have concluded. For those who are traveling without a car, leave some extra time. You do need a parking pass to get on the property if you are traveling with a car. You can also take the 160 bus line from the Port Authority Bus Terminal or the Meadowlands Rail Service. The sportsbook can also take live bets on its app.
The law allows for former racetracks to open sports betting, so this includes sites in Cherry Hill and Atlantic City.
Borgata is located in Atlantic City and is a non-smoking book. There are 100 individual seats with betting windows and each is equipped with flat screen monitors. There is a larger $7 million facility that is being worked on to replace this temporary sportsbook. It opens daily at 11 a.m. and there is live betting that is available thorough the playMGM NJ sports betting app. There is also an in-venue bar that offers cocktails and cold beers so you don’t have to miss any of the action.
Ocean Resort Casino is a boardwalk hotel that opened June 28, 2018 on the site of the previous Revel Casino. This hotel built a 7,500 square foot William Hill Sports Book, which is located in the middle of the casino floor and also offers in-game betting. While the bar is open 24 hours a day, the actual sportsbook has hours between 10 a.m. and midnight throughout the week and 9 a.m. though midnight on Sundays.
Resorts Atlantic City was the first casino hotel in the state to open its Draftkings sports book. It opened on August 15, 2018 and has 5,000 square feet of space, along with five betting windows, 12 betting kiosks, and a 15-foot video wall. There is also VIP seating and bottle service. There is a DraftKings mobile app as well where you can place bets.
Golden Nugget is another marina district hotel that features a sportsbook. The sportsbook is located off the main atrium and opens daily from 10 a.m. to midnight. There is seating for more than 100 and there are 50 TVs that show the action. There is also a mobile app, but the app won’t take bets from the Houston Rockets since they are owned by the hotel’s Tilman Fertitta.
Bally’s has a sportsbook that is located in the Wild Wild West Casino and features 30 stadium lounge chairs. There are also 27 high top chairs and you can view the games on eight large screen TVs.
Harrah’s is another marina district sportsbook that features 32 stadium lounge chairs, 18 high top chairs, and six high top tables. There are games shown on five large screens. Bally’s and Harrah’s are both owned by Cesar Entertainment, which launched a mobile app in September 2018.
Tropicana has a William Hill Sports Book, which can be found in the North Tower Casino. You can also watch games at Ri Ra Irish Pub, Hooters, A Dam Good Sports Bar and Chickie’s & Pete’s.
Hard Rock Atlantic City used to be the Trump Taj Mahal, but it is now a Hard Rock property just a few strides down the Boardwalk. The hotel launched mobile and sports betting operations in January 2019. When it opened, the chairman confirmed that the Hard Rock would be in the business of sports betting. The company does have some restrictions because of its relationship with the Miami Dolphins and NFL. It needs a third party to manage the action and is not able to set the bets.
DraftKings’ sportsbook app was the first to launch a sports betting component and offers in-game betting. The app launched on August 6, 2018 and bets can be made at all hours of the day. However, players need to be in the state when placing a bet. The William Hill mobile betting app features in-game wagering, teasers and props, and a wide variety of parlays. There is also the ability to buy points on the betting line. An app similar to DraftKings is playMGM and is available for iOS and Android phones. The SugarHouse Sportsbook will offer a $250 bonus on the fist deposit. FanDuel’s sportsbook app will offer a $500 risk free bet and will offer a refund in you lose your first bet. In October 2018, the New York Jets agreed to a sponsorship agreement with 888 Sport, an online casino, and you can see signage that is featured at MetLife Stadium. BetStars launched on September 13, 2018 and the iOS version launched in October.
Bettors can wager on almost every type of game and league under the sun and this includes NBA, NFL, NHL, the Olympics, and more. In-game wagering, straight bets, tears, and futures bets are offered.
Questions about Sports Betting in New Jersey
What are the rules for betting?
Those who want to place bets need to be 21 and older. Betting is not allowed for any collegiate athletic event taking place in New Jersey or any event that includes a New Jersey college, regardless of where it its taking place. Betting on high school events is also not allowed.
Can bets be placed online?
Bets can be placed online and on mobile apps. When the legislation was first passed and sports betting began in the state, it wasn’t allowed, but since then it has become a feature.
Can anyone open a sportsbook?
No, the law only allows tracks, former tracks, and casinos to open sportsbooks. This means that the corner convenience store can’t become bookies legally.
What sports can be bet on in New Jersey?
Any professional sports are fair game and there is nothing stopping minor league sports from also being included. College sports are included only if it is not a school that is based in New Jersey (Princeton, Seton Hall, Rutgers) or if the event isn’t taking place in the state. Each sports betting parlor can set its own rules about which games they allow you to bet on, and it can vary from site to site.
How much money does the state get from this?
New Jersey pushed for legal sports betting for a few reasons. The first reason was it was designed to boost visits to Atlantic City and racetracks. Both of these have been struggling over the past 10 years. Sports betting allows Atlantic City to have another attraction, in order to lure visitors after rising competition in the seaside resort from neighboring states. Sports betting is also expected to help the state’s horse racing industry. Early estimates were that $13 million in tax revenue would be raised in the first year, while many thought that was lowballing it. New Jersey wanted to reap some of the billions of dollars that are already spent from those who illegally bet on sports each year. The state taxes 8.5 percent of the revenue from in-person betting at tracks and casinos. Online bets are subject to a 13% tax rate. This is so that more people will visit the sits in person so they spend more at restaurants and other nearby businesses. In attracting new customers, the state can also increase tourism. Local businesses will reap benefits from this new revenue stream. This helps businesses in not only Atlantic City, but also the rest of the state.
How many new jobs does this create?
Another reasons the state pushed for this legislation is the creation of new jobs. Early estimates said that it could lead to hundreds or thousands of new jobs in the state. At Monmouth Park, there would be 50 to 120 alone. The estimate in new jobs is because of people being added in admissions, food and beverage, and marketing, so the non-gaming revenue also has an increase in payroll.
What do leagues think of New Jersey sports betting?
Many leagues were not all that thrilled about the new law. College sports leagues and four pro leagues, including NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB, spent years suing the state saying that sports betting would damage the integrity of the games and would violate the federal ban on the practice. Since the Supreme Court sided with the state and overturned the ban, the MLB and NBA have softened on sports betting. Leagues along with the PGA lament the fact that the law doesn’t include partnerships with the leagues, in order to share data and protect the games from game fixing and cheating. The state also refused to give those leagues an integrity fee, which is 25% of the state’s total gaming revenue. The leagues say that this fee can help expand the monitoring of the games. The NFL has asked Congress to pass a federal sports betting bill to make sure the law is the same across the country.