Is Sports Betting Legal in New Jersey?

Even though they have one major league franchise in the state, residents of New Jersey can now bet on their favorite team in every NHL game played this season.

The law permits any of the state’s casinos and racetracks to offer gambling on professional and college sports, but prohibits them from accepting bets on college events played in New Jersey, or out-of-state games involving New Jersey college teams.

The first legal wagers were placed three days after Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill in June 2018.

Betting Laws in New Jersey

Almost nine million people live in the Garden State. Trenton is the capital, while Newark is its largest city with 300,000 residents.

Gambling, whether it’s horse racing at the Meadowlands or the slots in Atlantic City, is regulated at the state level.

See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:

All legalized gambling within New Jersey is limited to the following areas:

  • Casino gambling
  • Poker
  • Horse racing
  • Lottery
  • Sports betting
  • Online gambling
  • Daily fantasy betting
  • Social gambling
  • Charitable gambling

One of the main gambling-based offenses in New Jersey is operating a casino or other gambling institution without a state permit. While dog racing is prohibited, sled dog racing is explicitly permitted for fairs and exhibitions.

The legal age in the state for licensed gambling — like the lottery and horse racing — is 18. The legal age for gambling in casinos is 21.

New Jersey casinos

New Jersey currently has nine casinos, all of which are located in Atlantic City. This destination on the Atlantic Ocean is known for its casinos, boardwalk and beaches.

Atlantic City inspired the U.S. version of the board game Monopoly, especially the street names. In 1976, New Jersey voters legalized casino gambling in Atlantic City. The first casino opened two years later.

Today, most casinos in this resort town fight for their existence. With casino revenue declining from $5.2 billion in 2006 to $2.9 billion in 2013, the state saw a drop in money from its eight-per-cent tax on those earnings, which is used to fund programs for senior citizens and the disabled.

Online gambling

In February 2013, the New Jersey Legislature legalized online gambling within its borders. Then governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law, calling it a “responsible yet exciting option that will make Atlantic City more competitive while also bringing financial benefits” to the state.

NJ regulators tightly restrict and monitor who can gamble at online casinos — such as Bovada, TopBet and BetOnline. Here’s what you need to know about who is eligible to play:

  • Only users 21 years of age and above can gamble for real money.
  • Players must be physically inside the state of New Jersey.
  • Users not required to be a New Jersey resident to play.
  • Players can create and fund an account from anywhere in the world, but can’t play until inside the state.

Horse racing

New Jersey currently has three racetracks in operation — Freehold Raceway in Freehold, Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, and Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport.

The Meadowlands, the newest of the three tracks which opened more than 40 years ago in September 1976, is home to one of harness racing’s most prestigious races — the Hambletonian.

The two other tracks opened in the late 1800s. Monmouth’s biggest race of the year is the Haskell Invitational Stakes, open to the top three-year-old thoroughbreds in the world.

State lottery

The New Jersey Lottery was formed in November 1969. It’s motto “Anything can happen in Jersey” did for one player as a lucky winner hit the jackpot in the $429-million Powerball drawing in May 2016.

You must be 18 years old to play the state lottery, which has its own in-house draws, scratch tickets and multi-jurisdictional games.

New Jersey Sports Betting Laws

In May 2018, New Jersey won a Supreme Court case overturning a federal law that limited sports betting to only four states. The doors were open for sports betting the next month at multiple venues in New Jersey.

Professional sports teams will profit from sports betting, predicted Dennis Drazin, chairman of Darby Development, the company that operates Monmouth Park.

“They’re going to make a lot of money. They’re going to have more viewership, more value,” he told lawmakers before the 2018 vote. “How many people really would watch an obscure game on a Monday night if they didn’t have some action on it?”

Casinos and racetracks are permitted to form as many as three online partnerships apiece — and several are in place — but they must have a physical sports book first. Eight NJ casinos and racetracks have retail sports books at the moment.

New Jersey’s Major Sports Team

New Jersey Devils (NHL)

The New Jersey Devils, based in Newark, are one of eight teams in the Metropolitan Division of the National Hockey League. They play their home games at the Prudential Center after spending 25 years at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford.

With the move of the Brooklyn Nets to Brooklyn in 2012, the franchise is the only major league team in any sport that explicitly identifies itself as a New Jersey team.

The Devils failed to make the playoffs in their first five seasons in New Jersey, never finishing higher than fifth in their division. But they turned things around from 1994 to 2003, winning the Stanley Cup three times (1994-95, 1999-2000, 2002-03). The team has also won five conference championships.