New Jersey Bringing College Sports Betting In-State?

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New Jersey towers over the U.S. sports betting market, with its online sportsbooks topping $743 million in just one month last fall.

Now, with the market growing, New Jersey is taking notice — and it’s eyeing in-state collegiate sports betting as a way to stay dominant. 

Yesterday, the state Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee signed off on a proposed constitutional amendment to allow New Jersey sports wagering on both in-state and intrastate collegiate sports and athletics through casinos and racetracks. The proposal was approved by a Senate panel in 2020. 

If the proposal is approved by both houses and makes it past Gov. Phil Murphy, the amendment would go on the Nov. 2021 state ballot for approval.

College Sports Betting On The Rise

New Jersey is just one of many states looking at legalizing in-state collegiate sports betting. New Jersey bettors can wager on college match-ups that don’t include an in-state school, but that’s now poised to change. New York has similar rules in place, allowing bets as long as the games and events don’t involve in-state college and university sports. Pennsylvania has no betting restrictions. Neither does Maryland, where sportsbooks are expected to launch this fall. 

The trend is being fed by college students, many of whom turned to online sports betting during the pandemic when restricted stadium seating kept them home. Sports betting adds excitement that students have traditionally felt watching games in-person.

According to the National Center for Responsible Gaming, at least three-quarters of college students took part in sports betting or another form of gambling within the past year. 

New Jersey Casinos, Tracks Stand To Win

New Jersey allows sports betting online and through casinos and racetracks. But it’s sports betting that has been making the most money. 

The proposed amendment could remedy a slide in revenues for New Jersey casinos and tracks, which have taken a major hit during the pandemic. 

Slot and table game revenue for casinos was down 16.9 percent in New Jersey in 2020, which closed the year at $2.64 billion in casino revenue, including online bets. Sports betting revenue brought that total to $2.88 billion for the year. 

New Jersey state Sen. Paul Sarlo has hinted that expanding sports betting into the college arena will make a difference for the Garden State. 

“A lot of money is being left on the table for college betting, a lot of money,” Sarlo said this week. “I’m confident we’ll have this on the ballot in 2021.” 

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region who covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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