Referred to as the Garden State, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the USA. Known for providing home field stadium space to New York’s Giants and Jets NFL teams, New Jersey has adopted these clubs as their own. New Jersey is also famous for being home to the second most popular gambling region in America, known as Atlantic City. On Monday, May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court made a historic ruling regarding the New Jersey sports betting case that rendered the federal ban on US-based sports betting, known as PASPA, unconstitutional.
This page will provide a brief look at this legal decision, which carries precedence significant not only to New Jersey but also to the USA sports betting market at large. We also break down the legalities that up to this point have been relevant to sports betting in New Jersey by providing insight into the state’s gambling laws and the US federal gambling laws, explaining how their intersection defines the infrastructure by which legal online sports wagering is governed.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal In New Jersey?
Yes! Once NJ enacted Assembly Law 4111, they had 30 days before they could start offering online sports betting. New Jersey began accepting domestic sports wagers on June 14, 2018, with the governor placing the historical first bet. Online sports betting started in August of 2018, and all major gambling venues now have Internet betting options. Draft Kings was the first online sportsbook to launch in New Jersey, but the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands is the current market leader.
Please note that offshore sports betting, while recently available to all NJ residents aged 18 and up, is no longer offered by any reputable overseas sportsbook operator. The same is true for offshore casino gambling. If you wish to bet on sports or gamble online legally in NJ, you must join a state-regulated domestic Internet betting site.
State Regulated Sports Betting In New Jersey
Since PASPA was overturned, states have been rushing to get sports betting operations up and running. New Jersey has recently implemented online and domestic sports betting to residents within NJ state lines. Online sports betting began in August 2018, and now, all major casino operators are up and running as online bookmakers.
All Atlantic City casinos and two of the state's three horse tracks are already accepting bets on sports, including Bally's, the Borgata, Harrah's, Monmouth Park, Ocean Resort Casino, and The Meadowlands, to name a few. The only venue that has not launched a sportsbook to date is Freehold Raceway.
NJ Sports Betting Legalities Prior To The Supreme Court Ruling
Let's start with explaining the relevant laws, statutes, and regulations that are in play here. As mentioned previously, several specific US federal laws govern sportsbook gambling in the United States. State laws found in the NJ Casino Control Act & Commission Regulations used to have little if any bearing on matters other than to support and reiterate federal regulations. This is no longer the case.
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed in 1992 and prohibited individual states from licensing bookmaker operations within their territory. The only exception to this law consisted of four specific regions that were exempted from these restrictions. NJ was offered a chance at the exemption, but unfortunately, they chose not to take advantage of this offer at the time of the law’s passage, a decision they grew to regret.
Despite the restrictions enforced through PASPA, New Jersey lawmakers moved forward with approving and launching sports betting options within the state. They faced numerous legal challenges as a result, including lawsuits initiated by the various professional sports leagues in the country. The courts of the land initially upheld the ruling that New Jersey's new sports betting initiative was in violation of PASPA. New Jersey chose to fight the ruling and was rewarded for their efforts when they won their case at the Supreme Court level. The SCOTUS ruled that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional and overturned the law.
The rest of the United States can thank NJ for their tenacity which directly led to the repeal of PASPA and an effective revolutionizing of the US sports gambling market. Lawmakers in the Garden State refused to back down, even when they were strongly opposed by all of the US professional and collegiate leagues.
Prior to the state's launch of domestic sports betting, fans in the state were restricted to only licensed offshore sportsbooks if they wanted to participate in any type of sports-related gambling. Now the state has blocked offshore sites to increase revenue from their regulated domestic sites.
What About The Federal Wire Act?
Previous to PASPA's repeal, the Federal Wire Act prohibited all instances of US-based online sportsbook operations. However, now that state-regulated sportsbook gambling can be legally established in any state that passes the appropriate legislation, the Wire Act only prohibits wagers that are categorized as "interstate" transactions, meaning that as long as the bets are not accepted across state lines, online sports betting can be legally licensed by individual states.
Other Federal Laws That Affect New Jersey Online Sports Betting
The last federal gambling law that plays a role in gambling in New Jersey is the UIGEA, also known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Despite popular belief, this law does not prohibit US residents from gambling online. In actuality, this law is directed at gambling site owners/operators and payment processors. The UIGEA imposes regulatory requirements regarding how online gambling-related transactions can be processed. The advent of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has largely rendered the UIGEA moot.
New Jersey's Adopted Sports Teams
Only recently, New Jersey had two sports teams of their own. They had, and still have, the New Jersey Devils in the NHL, which is a middle-of-the-road team that actually has a surprisingly large fan base when you consider that they're not exactly Stanley Cup contenders on a year-to-year basis.
In addition, until two years ago, New Jersey had the New Jersey Nets in the NBA. This was yet another pretty big team that had a huge Jersey following. They never quite managed to get over the hump, but they were a perennial playoff team in the early- to mid-2000s, and they would typically win around 50 games per season. The Nets were huge with the local NJ sports betting community.
Unfortunately, the Nets were purchased by a Russian billionaire four years ago, and he began the process of relocating the team to Brooklyn. So now they're the Brooklyn Nets, but many NJ residents still follow the Nets closely.
New Jersey's most famous sports teams aren't actually New Jersey teams at all, but are rather adopted by the state. In the NFL, there are three New York teams: The Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets, and the New York Giants. However, only one of those teams actually plays in New York, and that's the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo is located in upstate New York, whereas the Jets and the Giants, who play in the AFC and NFC respectively, are headquartered in New York City.
However, since NYC is packed to the rafters with millions of people and businesses and streets and parks, it was deemed impractical to put a stadium up in the city. So for decades, the Jets and Giants have shared a stadium in New Jersey: first Giants Stadium at The Meadowlands, and now MetLife Stadium (since 2010). And while they're New York teams, the fact that they play in Jersey makes them the most popular "home" teams in the state.
NFL Teams in New Jersey
The New York Giants and the New York Jets play professional football at MetLife Stadium, located in East Rutherford, NJ. The two teams originate from New York and kept the name of their home state because of marketability and the relatively short distance (around 18 miles) from New York City. The Giants play in the NFC East and were founded in 1925, winning a total of 4 Super Bowls in 1986 (XXI), 1990 (XXV), 2007 (XLII), and 2011 (XLVI). The Jets play in the AFC East and were founded in 1959, winning their only Super Bowl in 1968 (III).
Betting on the 2019 New York Giants
The New York Giants lost their best receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., in the offseason, but they retained star players Eli Manning and Saquon Barkley. The past two seasons have not been good to Giant fans, with the club looking to rebuild. With some fresh faces including potential franchise QB Daniel Jones, Kevin Zeitler, Mike Remmers, and Golden Tate, the Giants are hoping to become more physical and force their way into the playoffs within the next few campaigns.
Betting on the 2019 New York Jets
The Jets are hoping to put together a better season than last year's unimpressive 4-12 campaign. Fans are excited to see Le’Veon Bell suit up in his new Jets attire and hit the football field for the first time in over a year. Young quarterback Sam Darnold should have enough experience to have a breakout year with Bell behind him. Unfortunately, they don’t have much talent at the wide receiver position, and early returns aren't looking great. Still, they have potential, and they remain popular with bettors throughout New Jersey.
College Football Teams in New Jersey
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are the only Power 5 Conference college football program in the Garden State, competing in the Big Ten Conference since 2014 and playing their home games at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.
On November 6, 1869, Rutgers and Princeton played what is considered to be the first ever intercollegiate football game in history. Rutgers defeated Princeton with a score of 6-4 on a small plot of land where College Avenue is currently located on Rutgers’ campus in New Brunswick and today is commonly known as “the birthplace of college football.”
Betting On The 2019 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Last year was not a good year for Rutgers football. In 2018, the team only managed to put up one win to their 11 losses. Playing in the Big 10 East is no easy challenge; their 2019 schedule is riddled against big programs such as Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State, to name a few. Rutgers has added some new talent but unfortunately, it will not be enough to compete with bigger programs in their conference.
Update: Rutgers' 2019 regular season record of 2-10 was an improvement, albeit a slight one. It remains to be seen (and bet on!) when Rutgers will once again be bowl eligible.
The Famous Boardwalk Empire
Atlantic City, in many ways, is every bit as famous as Las Vegas. Surely you've heard of the game Monopoly, but did you know that it's actually based on Atlantic City? Boardwalk is directly from AC, and so too is the former HBO show Boardwalk Empire. This is a show that gave a semi-accurate look at how modern Atlantic City made it through the Prohibition Era in America.
Although many of the characters were fictional and the timelines could get a bit wonky, the stories told in the show were actually true. AC was a big reason Prohibition hit the US hard, and the city was controlled by a handful of organized crime syndicates. They purchased land, built roads and hotels, made the Boardwalk famous, and paved the way for the casinos.
Atlantic City's history doesn't really get that interesting, removed from the Boardwalk Empire days, until the 1970s. This is when gambling was legalized. In 1976, a referendum was passed in the state of New Jersey, and gambling was considered legal. This was only two years after a similar referendum was shot down, keeping gambling illegal.
It didn't take long for people in Atlantic City to take advantage of the famous Boardwalk, which had already been there for nearly a hundred years. They actually started building big casinos directly off the Boardwalk, while putting up hotels and spas and resorts.
Today, there are 11 total casinos that are on the Boardwalk all up and down Atlantic City. And while that might not sound like a lot of casinos, you have to consider that these are huge Vegas-style casinos, featuring thousands of slots, hundreds of gaming tables, multiple restaurants, hundreds of rooms, huge halls for entertainment, and much more.
We're obviously not talking about anything that's quite the size of Las Vegas here. Sin City has over a 120 casinos located on the Strip alone, and that's not counting what's off the Strip and what's up near Reno. So in terms of size and gambling options, Vegas is in first place by a mile.
But when it comes to a pure gambling city, everything in AC is very compact and direct. You can literally walk up and down the boardwalk and enjoy the huge casinos of the city. Magic is also huge in Atlantic City. While Vegas might have David Copperfield, AC has a host of magicians in the majority of their casinos, and they put on shows all around the calendar year.
Other casinos you can find in Atlantic City include Caesars, Bally's, the Tropicana, the Hard Rock Atlantic City, and the Borgata. You can also find a few racetracks within the state, though there are no horse tracks in AC itself.
Whether you're going to Atlantic City or staying home to gamble on your computer or mobile device, we want you to exercise caution when betting. Don't get carried away at the moment, and always take your time and study your bets. You want to win. That's the entire purpose of betting.