New Jersey Approves Measure to Allow State Residents to Bet on Local Teams
The New Jersey sports betting market is the largest in the United States. Every month, the state goes head-to-head with Nevada for the most prominent betting handle and usually comes out on top. However, a new measure from the state legislature has the potential to make the New Jersey betting industry even larger.
Lawmakers in New Jersey approved a measure on Thursday to place a referendum vote on the November ballot. If the vote passes, people in New Jersey will be able to wager in-state college programs, including Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Princeton.
Current Law in New Jersey
Many states have limited college sports betting to protect local student-athletes. States are starting to move away from these standards because college sports are captivating for bettors. People in New Jersey can bet on New York teams, so limiting local programs for bettors to protect athletes is slightly contradictory.
The current law in New Jersey forbids all betting on New Jersey college teams. If these teams are on the road, they still cannot be wagered. Also, no betting can occur on any NCAA Tournament games that happen in the state.
For example, if an NCAA basketball regional is in New Jersey, betting is off-limits. New Jersey is racking up substantial wagering handles, but the legislature adding local college programs to the equation would raise the total.
Residents will Decide
Referendum votes have been the deciding factor for sports betting in numerous states throughout the nation. Democratic Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey released a joint statement following the referendum measure.
“Events and tournaments such as March Madness are highly anticipated by sports bettors all over the country. With a majority vote, we will be able to give the people in New Jersey the opportunity to place wagers on our collegiate teams and continue to enjoy the sporting events in our state.”
Sports betting adds an extra element to events. Therefore, if the referendum were passed, it would be successful for the betting industry because of the major programs in the state. Rutgers, which competes in the Big Ten, and Seton Hall, a Big East program, would be two of the primary schools wagered in New Jersey.
Football and basketball are prominent at Rutgers, compared to Seton Hall, which only offers basketball for bettors. If residents passed the bill, the legislature would still have to craft a law surrounding local sports betting.
The question on the ballot will appear as follows.
“Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit wagering through casinos and current or former horse racetracks on all college sport or athletic events? Currently, wagering is prohibited on college sport or athletic events that take place in New Jersey. Wagering is also prohibited on an event in which a team from a New Jersey college participates.”
There were concerns in the legislature about offering betting on local programs. Nevertheless, this fear has disappeared in the legislature. New Jersey regulates sports betting and has one of the safest markets in the country, so legislators are willing to add betting on in-state teams.