New Jersey is a trailblazer when it comes to online betting in the USA. New Jersey was one of the first states to legalize and implement online gambling, and it is largely thanks to the combined efforts of the state’s voters and a number of hardworking lawmakers that sports betting is no longer prohibited at the federal level. If it wasn’t for New Jersey, the gambling landscape in the United States would look much different today.
We’ll dive into the background of online gambling in New Jersey later, but let’s start with the bird’s eye view picture: sports betting and online sports betting are both legal in New Jersey. Online casinos, online poker sites and daily fantasy sports sites are also legal and active right now.
If you want to play online in New Jersey, you have many options at your disposal right now:
Legal New Jersey Betting Sites
Horse Racing Betting:
Sports Betting in New Jersey
Sports betting is now legal in New Jersey thanks to a 2018 Supreme Court decision that found the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. Prior to the Supreme Court decision, PASPA prevented New Jersey and almost every other state from legalizing and regulating sports betting.
New Jersey mounted a legal challenge to PASPA beginning in 2012 with a piece of legislation seeking to legalize sports betting. That set off a years-long legal battle that culminated in the Supreme Court striking down PASPA. You can read more about the history of the legal case lower on this page, but the gist of it is the federal government can no longer tell New Jersey that sports betting must remain outlawed.
Most states that want sports betting must now scramble to pass new legislation, but New Jersey had a head start and already has a law in place ending the state prohibition. This means sports betting is legal in New Jersey right now.
There was a delay of about a month between the Supreme Court decision and the first New Jersey venues taking legal wagers. After the decision came down, lawmakers in New Jersey told local racetracks and casinos to hold off on implementing sports betting so they could pass a second law providing regulations and licensing conditions.
That law was approved by the legislature in June of 2018 and was signed by Governor Murphy three days later. The secondary law called for emergency regulations and expedited temporary licenses in order to allow the first venues to begin taking sports wagers by June 14th, 2018.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy marked the occasion with a visit to Monmouth Park racetrack on June 14th where he placed the state’s first ever legal sports wagers. Governor Murphy bet $20 on the Germany winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup and $20 on the New Jersey Devils winning the 2019 Stanley Cup.
Sports betting is now a reality in New Jersey.
Best NJ Betting Sites
Mobile and online sports betting is now legal in New Jersey. We’ll cover the legal background in a bit, but first we’ll start with a look at where you can bet on sports online from within NJ state lines.
DraftKings opened for business in 2012 strictly as a daily fantasy sports site and quickly grew to become one of the two major fantasy sites in the US (with the other being FanDuel). After the Supreme Court ended the federal sports betting prohibition, it was only natural for DraftKings to begin moving into online sports betting.
In fact, DraftKings officials had been preparing for the possibility of legal sports betting even before the Supreme Court issued its decision. These early preparations gave DraftKings a head start once New Jersey had all the necessary regulations in place. On August 1st, 2018, DraftKings Sportsbook opened as the first legal sports betting app in New Jersey.
You can check it out at:
SugarHouse Online Casino opened in 2016 and then added a full-service sportsbook in 2018 after receiving a license from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. SugarHouse has one of the nicer interfaces in New Jersey with a desktop platform and mobile app that offer players a full range of pre-game bets, in-play bets and much more.
The SugarHouse sports betting platform covers a range of international sports including all the majors such as football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, hockey and tennis in addition to smaller sports such as cricket, darts, MMA, boxing and golf. For the most complete sports betting experience, SugarHouse Sportsbook is worth a look.
You can visit SugarHouse sportsbook and view the lines at:
Daily fantasy site FanDuel.com first entered the sports betting market through a deal reached with Meadowlands Racetrack to offer retail betting. FanDuel then broke into the online betting market with the launch of FanDuel Sportsbook Online in September of 2018.
FanDuel is partially owned by Paddy Power Betfair, which itself is an experienced sports betting operator that has been operating in regulated markets for years. Extensive experience combined with brand name recognition make FanDuel a strong contender in the NJ online betting market.
The FanDuel Sportsbook app can be downloaded for iOS and Android devices from anywhere in the country to view the lines, but only residents of New Jersey may place wagers. The mobile app boasts simple navigation and supports in-play betting. This is one of the most comprehensive in-play betting apps launched to date with many short-term wagers available throughout every game.
You can visit FanDuel Sportsbook at:
PointsBet is the most unique NJ betting site to launch to date with its own take on sports wagering. While PointsBet offers all the standard types of wagers you’d expect to find anywhere else, it also offers a new type of spread betting which pays you more for being more right.
For example, you can take the offer on a points total and choose an amount to wager per point. Imagine a football game with the point total set at 55 points. If you bet $10 per point and the final total ends up being 59 points, you would end up with $40 in winnings.
You can visit PointsBet at:
Bet365 came a bit later to the NJ market in August 2019 in partnership with Hard Rock Atlantic City. The company may be new to the US, but Bet365 has a long history on the international stage and operates one of the most successful online betting operations in the world.
In the US, Bet365 brings with it a willingness to take wagers on a wide range sports and leagues than just about anyone else in the game. In-play betting on Triple A baseball games? Yup. Wagers on Japan’s L2 League women’s matches? You gotcha.
You can visit Bet365 online at:
The popular sports news, media, scoring and stats app best known as theScore has entered the online betting game. First stop: New Jersey in partnership with Monmouth Park.
theScore has a very good chance to ramp up activity quickly as it holds the keys to a massive user database consisting entirely of tech-savvy sports fans. Past experience in managing a high quality app and interacting with sports fans gives theScore a leg up and will be partnering with US-based sports technology company Bet.Works.
You can visit theScore online at:
Hard Rock Casino Sportsbook
Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City entered the NJ sports betting market in early 2019 with the launch of its own online sportsbook. With all the flare of the Hard Rock brand, this sportsbook offers pre-game and in-play betting on all the major sports in North America and beyond.
Hard Rock Sportsbook offers a fully-compatible experience with support for desktop, iOS and Android users alike. You can visit the website to download the app or simply point your phone’s browser to wager without downloading anything.
You can visit Hard Rock Online at:
BetMGM launched its online sportsbook in August of 2018 to become New Jersey’s first all-in-one gambling site offering sports betting, casino games and poker all in one location. The handy thing about BetMGM is that a single account grants access to all the major forms of online gaming.
BetMGM Sportsbook is aligned with the Borgata in Atlantic City and holds a valid license from the NJDGE. Customers can visit the website at BetMGM.com or download the mobile sportsbook app to bet on the go.
See it for yourself at:
William Hill Sportsbook
William Hill is partnered with Ocean Resort and Monmouth Park for retail betting in NJ and operates online betting under the William Hill banner via mobile app and web platform. William Hill Online launched on September 1 of 2018 and is now available to customers across New Jersey.
William Hill Sportsbook offers a range of betting options including in-play betting plus wagers for all major sports. A clean and easy-to-navigate interface makes it easy to find specific games. In addition to taking wagers on who will win any particular game, William Hill Online supports point totals, props and futures.
You can visit William Hill online at:
Caesars Casino Sportsbook
Caesars NJ Sportsbook launched sports betting on Thursday, September 6th of 2018 just in time for the first NFL regular season games. Customers can download the Caesars Casino app on iOS or bet online at CaesarsCasino.com via desktop or Android device.
Caesars Online Sportsbook is powered by the OpenBet platform, which is used by some of the world’s largest online sports betting brands such as William Hill, Ladbrokes and Betfair. Simple navigation and a fully functional mobile app make it easy to get started with real money wagers.
You can visit Caesars Casino online for more information or to get started at:
Golden Nugget Online Sportsbook
Golden Nugget Online Casino has been open since 2013 and launched its sportsbook in early 2019. Building off its early success as New Jersey’s most popular casino site, Golden Nugget Sportsbook now has the ability to promote its sports betting product to a large existing userbase.
Sports betting at Golden Nugget is powered by software from SBTech, which itself is a major player on the business-to-business side of the industry. With the assistance of SBTech technology, Golden Nugget was able to launch with coverage of dozens of sports and thousands of individual wagers from day one.
When Golden Nugget Sportsbook first launched, it was prohibited by state law from accepting wagers on any NBA games due to its owner, Tilman Fertitta, also owning the NBA’s Houston Rockets. That changed in September 2019 after lawmakers approved an amendment relaxing the restriction. Now, Golden Nugget is allowed to accept wagers on all NBA games that do not involve the Houston Rockets.
You can visit Golden Nugget Sportsbook at:
How Online Betting was Legalized in New Jersey
The law that was at the center of New Jersey’s Supreme Court case does not cover a lot of ground beyond simply legalizing sports betting. Before sports betting could commence in NJ, lawmakers had to draft and pass an additional bill containing regulations governing the industry.
A regulatory bill was sent to Governor Murphy in 2018 and it included regulations not only for in-person sportsbooks, but also for online betting sites. The bill was signed into law on June 11th of 2018 and the first in-person sportsbooks opened shortly thereafter.
The bill included a mandatory waiting period of one month before online betting could commence, which gave us a date of July 11th as the earliest possible start date. However, none of the state’s casino operators were ready to go by then. DraftKings, in partnership with Resorts Casino, was the first mobile bookmaker to the market.
Other Atlantic City casinos have submitted online betting applications to the Division of Gaming Enforcement as well, so we expect to see more come online over the next few weeks and months. Most online casinos in New Jersey will likely expand into sports betting sooner or later.
Caesars Entertainment announced via press release in late July that mobile and online sports betting is coming soon at CaesarsCasino.com. An exact date hasn’t been released, but we’re probably down into “weeks” territory at this point.
As soon as the first New Jersey betting sites go live, we’ll update this page with all the info you need to join the party. In the meantime, in-person sports betting is now available at:
- Monmouth Park
- Borgata AC
- Ocean Resort AC
- Meadowlands race track
- Bally’s AC
- Harrah’s AC
Where to Bet on Sports in New Jersey
Monmouth Park in Oceanport and the Borgata in Atlantic City were the first two locations to begin taking sports bets while others followed in short order. Below is an up-to-date list of all New Jersey sportsbooks.
Monmouth Park Sports Book
Monmouth Park originally announced a planned date of Monday, May 28th to open its William Hill sportsbook and accept its first real money sports wager, but was told to wait until further regulations could be implemented.
Shortly after Monmouth Park announced its tentative opening date, NJ.com reported that a bill introduced by Senate President Stephen Sweeney includes a provision stating that anyone who begins accepting sports betting before the state implements regulations will be prohibited from accepting future bets on games.
Monmouth Park acquiesced and put its plans on hold – but only for a bit. The New Jersey legislature moved quickly to introduce new regulations and Governor Murphy happily signed off on them. Monmouth Park jumped at the opportunity to become the location of the state’s first ever legal sports wager on Thursday, June 14th, 2018.
Monmouth Park Sports Book Hours
- Monday – Thursday: 10 AM to 1 AM
- Friday: 10 AM to 2 AM
- Saturday: 8 AM to 2 AM
- Sunday: 8 AM to 1 AM
The Borgata AC Sports Book
The Borgata began taking sports wagers the same day as Monmouth Park. Former 76ers star Julius Irving had the honors of placing the first legal wager in Atlantic City with a wager on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the next Super Bowl. After he placed that first wager, the Borgata began taking bets from the public at large.
The Borgata did not have a dedicated sportsbook completed in time for New Jersey’s first day of sports betting, but was able to snag a permit for a temporary location that will serve as the sportsbook for now. What was formerly the Race Book will be known as the Race & Sports Book at Borgata until the permanent sports book can be completed.
Borgata Sportsbook Hours
- Monday – Friday: Opens daily at 11 AM
- Saturday – Sunday: Opens daily at 9 AM
- Hours subject to change based on sports programming
Ocean Resort AC
The William Hill Sportsbook at Ocean Resort opened on June 28th, 2018 as the second boardwalk casino to accept sports wagers. Ocean Resort already runs an online casino and will likely get involved in online sports betting in short order.
Ocean Sportsbook Hours
- Monday – Thursday: 10 AM to 12 AM
- Friday – Saturday: 10 AM to 1 AM
- Sunday: 9 AM to 12 AM
FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands
Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford began taking wagers on July 14th, 2018 at the FanDuel Sportsbook. The FanDuel Sportsbook accepts wagers on a wide variety of sports and has since launched mobile betting across the state.
FanDuel Sportsbook NJ has the distinct advantage of being the closest NJ sportsbook to New York City and is located in the same sporting complex that hosts the NFL’s New York Jets and New York Giants.
FanDuel Sportsbook Hours
- Mon-Thurs: 10 AM – 1 AM
- Fri: 10 AM – 2 AM
- Sat: 7 AM – 2 AM
- Sun: 8 AM – 11:30 PM
Bally’s Atlantic City accepted its first sports bet on July 30th, 2018. Bally’s is owned by Caesars Entertainment and while some New Jersey properties operated by Caesars are branching out into online gaming, Bally’s itself does not yet have an online casino and has made no announcements regarding plans for online sports betting.
The Book at Bally’s Hours
- Monday – Thursday: 11 AM to 11:30 PM
- Friday: 11 AM to 12 AM
- Saturday: 10 AM to 2 AM
- Sunday: 10 AM to 11:30 PM
- Subject to change based on special sporting events
Harrah’s Atlantic City accepted its first sports bets at 11 AM local time on August 1st, 2018. NJ.com reported a longtime customer was specially invited to place the casino’s first ever sports wager: a $25 wager on the New York Yankees to win the next World Series.
Harrah’s Online is expected to enter the online sports betting market at some point. Caesars Entertainment, which owns Harrah’s, applied for numerous online betting licenses in mid-2018. In all likelihood, one of those licenses will be granted to HarrahsCasino.com for mobile and online wagering.
Hours of Operation
- Monday – Thursday: 11 AM to 11:30 PM
- Friday: 11 AM to 12 AM
- Saturday: 10 AM to 12 AM
- Sunday: 10 AM to 11:30 PM
- Subject to change
Golden Nugget AC
The sportsbook at Golden Nugget opened on August 15th, 2018 and launched a mobile app at the start of 2019. Golden Nugget is currently prohibited from taking wagers on NBA games due to casino owner Tilman Fertitta also owning the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
Note – that restriction may be changing soon. The NJ legislature has approved a bill that would allow the Golden Nugget to accept wagers on NBA games not involving the Rockets. If the bill becomes law, Golden Nugget will be back in full swing (minus wagers on the Rockets).
Golden Nugget Sportsbook Hours
- Monday – Friday: 12 PM to 10 PM
- Saturday – Sunday: 10 AM to 10 PM
The sportsbook at Resorts Atlantic City opened on August 15th, 2018 and then later launched sports betting at ResortsCasino.com.
Additionally, Resorts Casino is partnered with DraftKings to run the DraftKings online sportsbook and with the Stars Group to operate a third mobile betting site.
Resorts AC Hours
- Daily: 10 AM to 1:30 AM
- Betting Kiosks: 24/7
Tropicana AC opened its sportsbook in October 2018 in partnership with William Hill. Customers can find it on the North Tower casino floor next to Chickie’s and Pete’s.
Hours of Operation
- Monday – Thursday: 10 AM to 12 AM
- Friday: 10 AM to 1 AM
- Saturday: 9 AM to 1 AM
- Sunday: 9 AM to 12 AM
- Kiosks: Daily from 9 AM to 2 AM
Hard Rock Casino Sportsbook
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino AC launched its retail sportsbook and mobile betting app simultaneously back in January 2019. If you’re hungry, Hard Rock AC is either a good or a bad place to wager: bet $100 and you’ll get a free burger from Hard Rock Café.
More recently, we’ve been hearing rumors that the famed Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook is looking at expanding into New Jersey. If that holds true, New Jersey players will finally have a chance to bet at the world’s biggest sportsbook with no plane ticket necessary.
Games Offered by NJ Gambling Sites
All legal New Jersey gambling sites are run by one of the licensed Atlantic City Casinos, which also have the option to run multiple gaming sites under different brand names. Most operators have opted to open just one or two sites for right now, but it is entirely possible we see them open more sites in the future as the industry matures.
After New Jersey legalized online gambling, each Atlantic City casino partnered with one existing software provider to bring the games to players in New Jersey. This was actually required by the gambling bill because legislators wanted to minimize hiccups. So, they had the AC people team up with experienced software providers to ensure a smooth transition to the internet.
Current gaming law limits all online gambling in New Jersey to poker and casino only. You can play all the standard casino games (blackjack, roulette, slots, etc.) plus player vs. player poker. Sports betting was recently legalized at the federal level and New Jersey casinos will likely add sports betting options in the near future.
Licensed New Jersey Gambling Sites
Each of the major Atlantic City casinos is free to operate multiple gaming sites provided each website is vetted and licensed. The following list of legal NJ gambling sites is organized by the Atlantic City casino behind each one with a list of actual websites where you can play online.
1. Caesars Atlantic City
Caesars Interactive Entertainment joined forces with 888 for some of its properties and GVC Holdings for others. 888 has been involved in online gambling since the 90s, focusing mostly on its international offerings. The company has an excellent track record and knows how to provide a high quality experience to its players.
Online Casinos under the Caesars License
- Caesars Casino (www.caesarscasino.com)
- Harrah’s Casino (www.harrahscasino.com)
- 888 Casino (us.888casino.com)
Online Poker Sites under the Caesars License
2. Tropicana Casino and Resort
Tropicana teamed up with a London-based software provider by the name of Gamesys. Gamesys develops both casino and poker software for some of the largest gambling brands in the world. You can usually spot a Gamesys game by its bright, lighthearted and flashy graphics.
Tropicana Licensed Online Casinos
3. Golden Nugget Atlantic City
The Golden Nugget is partnered with Betfair to bring us a few casino sites and one online poker room. This is one of the newest partnerships as Betfair originally partnered with the Trump Plaza to host online games under the Trump name. The Trump Plaza closed in 2014, so Betfair switched alliances to the Golden Nugget.
Betfair has a long and positive history in the UK and has served more than 950,000 customers around the world. These two companies are more than capable of hosting fair and engaging games to players in New Jersey.
Online Casinos Operating Under the Golden Nugget License
- Golden Nugget Casino (www.goldennuggetcasino.com)
- Betfair Casino (www.betfaircasino.com)
- Sugarhouse Online Casino (www.playsugarhouse.com)
4. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
The Borgata Hotel and Casino is partnered with GVC Holdings, the company that runs international gaming sites Bwin, Party and many others. Borgata’s online casino got off to a great start by beating out every other New Jersey casino in revenue in the first months of business.
Borgata’s Online Casinos
- Borgata Casino (www.borgatacasino.com)
- Party Casino (www.nj.partycasino.com)
- Pala Casino (www.palacasino.com)
- MGM Casino (www.betmgm.com)
- Scores Casino (www.scorescasino.com)
Borgata’s Online Poker Sites
- Borgata Poker (www.borgatapoker.com)
- Party Poker (www.nj.partypoker.com)
- Pala Poker (www.palapoker.com)
- MGM Poker (www.betmgm.com)
Borgata’s Online Bingo Site
- Pala Bingo (www.palabingousa.com)
5. Resorts Casino Hotel
Resorts Casino Hotel operates two online casinos powered by NYX Gaming software and a poker site powered by international poker giant PokerStars. Both casinos launched in 2015 while the poker site launched in 2016. PokerStars NJ now stands as the most popular poker site for players in New Jersey.
Online Casinos Under the Resorts License
Online Poker Sites Under the Resorts License
- PokerStars NJ (www.pokerstarsnj.com)
6. Hard Rock Casino Atlantic City
Hard Rock Casino opened for business in Atlantic City on the evening of June 27th of 2018 and held its grand opening ceremony the following day. Hard Rock Online opened several days later with a collection of slots, table games and video poker provided by multiple software providers such as NetEnt, NextGen, NYX, IGT and more.
- Hard Rock Online Casino (www.hardrockcasino.com)
7. Ocean Resort Casino
Ocean Resort Casino became Atlantic City’s newest casino in June of 2018. The casino developers took over the shuttered Revel Casino building and completely revamped it to launch Ocean Resort. The new Ocean Resort features nearly 1400 rooms, six swimming pools, a sportsbook and casino all with prime views of the ocean.
How Online Gambling Works in NJ
The first ever fully legal gambling sites in New Jersey officially went live in 2013 after a lengthy period of planning and implementing a licensing process. Other states have passed or are working on passing similar legislation, but New Jersey was among the first along with Nevada and Delaware to actually get it done and let players sign up and play for real money at safe, legal, well known brands.
As long as you’re 21 years or older and are physically located in New Jersey, you can sign up right now and play at fully functional internet casinos and online poker sites that are operated by the Atlantic City casinos themselves.
The best part of all is that you don’t even have to be a resident of the state – you just have to be in New Jersey when you log on. In fact, players from surrounding states are driving to New Jersey just to have access to the Sunday Major poker tournaments. We feel this is a great step forward towards legitimizing the industry here in the United States, as it has been in most of Europe.
Each New Jersey online casino is operated in a partnership agreement between one existing brick-and-mortar casino and one software provider. The way the legislation was written made it mandatory that only existing Atlantic City casinos run real money gaming sites in the state. So as a player, you get the peace of mind knowing that you are playing at a site operated by a legitimate and longstanding brand.
Any time we talk about legalizing online gambling and poker, people get worried that politicians will make a big mess of it with excessive regulations and taxes. New Jersey has so far managed to avoid going that route. To date, the laws in place appear to have struck the right balance between consumer protection and free market competition.
Casino sites and poker sites are allowed to offer all the same games that you know and love. This includes all the most common table games, specialty games, slot machines and everything else that you would find at any Atlantic City casino. There do not appear to be any limits on how low or high the stakes can go online.
Interstate Online Poker Approved
The law that legalized online betting in New Jersey made it very clear that casino sites must make absolutely sure their sites can only be accessed by people located inside New Jersey. Sites do this by checking your IP address, positioning your wireless connection and even triangulating your cell phone. Industry insiders even said that they would rather see some people inside New Jersey be incorrectly denied access than to let a single person outside New Jersey get unauthorized access to the gaming sites.
Poker players in New Jersey are no longer restricted to playing only with fellow state residents. In October of 2017, Governor Chris Christie announced that he had reached an agreement with the governors of Delaware and Nevada to allow New Jersey poker sites to share tables with sites licensed in the other two states.
In other words, New Jersey poker players may now join tables alongside players from Nevada and Delaware. Poker sites licensed in two or three of those states are permitted to put players from both or all three states at the same tables. This was a big win for players in all three states as it results in busier games and makes it easier for existing poker sites to attract new customers.
How New Jersey Fought the Federal Sports Betting Ban and Won
New Jersey’s effort to legalize sports betting dates all the way back to 2011. It was then that residents approved a measure that would amend the state constitution to permit the legislature to legalize sports betting at authorized locations both online and in the real world.
Shortly after voters approved the measure, Governor Chris Christie signed the Sports Wagering Act 2012 into law. That law authorized sports betting at casinos and racetracks in New Jersey after Gov. Christie signed it in January of 2012.
The four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) and the NCAA sued to prevent the Sports Wagering Act 2012 from being implemented. This started off what would become a long legal battle.
PASPA: A Thorn in New Jersey’s Side
The state suffered its first major loss in 2013 after the Third Circuit appeals court ruled against New Jersey on the basis that the legislation violated a federal law called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). This early defeat did nothing to dampen the state’s appetite for sports betting.
PASPA would be a thorn in New Jersey’s side for years as the state attempted over and over to legalize sports betting. Under PASPA, no state was allowed to legalize sports betting. States that already had sports betting were exempted from the law, so Nevada was able to keep its sportsbooks while Oregon, Delaware and Montana received limited exemptions for sports lotteries operated in those states. Apart from those exceptions, no new laws legalizing or regulating sports betting could be implemented during the PASPA era.
A new measure in 2014 sought to sidestep the courts by taking advantage of a PASPA loophole. The 2014 bill took a different approach. Rather than having the state approve of or regulate sports betting, the bill simply ended the prohibition on sports betting. Basically, the bill said New Jersey would not prosecute local horse racing tracks or casinos if they decide to offer sports wagers.
However, a court found that New Jersey’s bill effectively served as “regulation” because it would have only applied to sports betting in certain venues (racetracks and casinos). As the New York Times reported in 2014, the NCAA and professional sports leagues argued that New Jersey could legally end its prohibition outright, but for everyone and not just for racetracks and casinos.
New Jersey got another shot in court after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to rehear New Jersey’s effort to allow racetracks and casinos to offer sports wagering. Lawmakers were optimistic in receiving a favorable ruling even though nothing was guaranteed at that point.
That effort ultimately failed when the Third Circuit ruled against New Jersey in August of 2016. A 10-2 vote from a panel of 12 judges found that the 2014 effort to exploit a loophole in PASPA was still a violation of federal law.
Two judges offered dissents to the August ruling. One judge took a literal interpretation of PASPA and agreed with New Jersey that merely permitting sports betting would be legal as the state would not technically be endorsing sports gambling. The other judge dissented on the assertion that PASPA itself is unconstitutional.
However, the two dissenters were easily overruled and New Jersey’s efforts to legalize sports betting was left with one last Hail Mary hope: to convince the Supreme Court to hear its case and rule PASPA unconstitutional. Lawyers representing New Jersey petitioned the Supreme Court to hear that case.
In January of 2017, the Supreme Court asked the next Solicitor General to review the case and make a recommendation as to whether or not the Supreme Court should take the case. That request was made during the Trump team’s transition into the Presidency and was delayed until a new Solicitor General was appointed. In March of 2017, President Trump nominated Noel J. Francisco to the position.
It was expected that if he was confirmed, his recommendation to the Supreme Court would most likely be the deciding factor in whether or not the New Jersey sports betting case makes it to the highest court in the land.
In the end, Jeffrey Wall was nominated Solicitor General and his office filed a brief recommending that the Supreme Court not take up the New Jersey sports betting case. This decision was described in the media as a potential “death blow” to New Jersey’s effort due to the Supreme Court’s long track record of following such recommendations.
A New Hope: The Supreme Court
It was predicted that the Supreme Court would follow his recommendation, but much to the surprise of everyone following New Jersey sports betting efforts, SCOTUS announced it would indeed hear the case.
Here’s what we wrote at the time before we know the outcome of the Supreme Court Case:
“That whole case is still in the very early phases, so it will be quite some time before we receive an outcome. This is a case we will be watching very closely, because a decision in New Jersey’s favor would impact the entire nation.
“A poor outcome in that case would leave New Jersey with few options. One route they could potentially take would be to repeal all state laws related to sports betting and refuse to prosecute anyone involved in the business. This is sometimes referred to as the “Wild West” scenario because it would make sports betting completely legal and unregulated. Even independent street bookies would be free to run their businesses how they see fit.”
Victory for Sports Betting in New Jersey
The Supreme Court finally issued its long-awaited ruling on May 14th, 2018. In no uncertain terms, the Supreme Court found PASPA unconstitutional and struck it down in its entirety. Now, individual states have the ability to legalize and regulate sports betting as they wish.
One important thing to keep in mind is this ruling does not mean Congress cannot regulate sports betting at all. The ruling only prohibits congress from prohibiting individual states to legalize sports betting absent any action from Congress.
In other words, Congress can still significantly change the sports betting landscape in the USA. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, for example, announced on the same day as the Supreme Court decision that he plans to introduce federal legislation “to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena.”
The war over PASPA has ended, but there is still much to come between a multitude of state efforts and possible federal legislation still on the menu. Sports betting is almost certainly here to stay, but exactly what it will look like one year, five years or ten years from now is still up in the air.
Will PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker ever return to New Jersey?
Yes. GVC Holdings (formerly Amaya Gaming) received approval in 2015 to host real money games for residents of New Jersey. This comes after a delay of more than two years related to PokerStars’ and Full Tilt’s continued acceptance of players in the U.S. after the passage of the UIGEA.
It was a lengthy approval process, but Amaya finally received the DGE’s blessing on September 30th, 2015. PokerStars went live in New Jersey in 2016 at the website PokerStarsNJ.com. However, PokerStars is unlikely to benefit from the player sharing agreement signed between Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware due to Amaya (now GVC Holdings) being unable so far to acquire a license to operate in Nevada and Delaware limiting its online gaming licenses only to brick-and-mortar interests there.
Fantasy sports sites have been operational in New Jersey for years, but it wasn’t until 2017 that they achieved formal legal status. A law enacted in 2017 finally gave New Jersey fantasy sites firm legal footing.
The 2017 law officially legalized daily fantasy sports and set up a licensing process for prospective operators. The law also implemented a number of consumer protection measures such as setting a minimum age of 18, requiring DFS sites to keep player funds separate from operational funds, prohibiting employees of DFS sites from participating and putting place responsible gaming rules.
The law did not actually change much on the ground as the major daily fantasy sites in New Jersey were already active in other states with similar legislation. The most important thing the law did was to give DFS sites firm legal status in New Jersey.
Horse Racing Betting
Real-world and online horse racing betting is legal in New Jersey at specific, authorized locations. In the real world, customers can place bets at one of New Jersey’s three racetracks or any of the handful of authorized off-track betting parlors (OTBs). Online racing betting is also permitted at New Jersey’s one licensed racing website, 4NJBets.com.
The New Jersey Racing Commission oversees and regulates all horse racing and betting conducted in-state. The Commission issues licenses, conducts investigations, provides for the safety of horses and protects the integrity of the industry.
All horse racing in New Jersey is conducted parimutuel style, which means you bet against other players rather than against the house. The way it works is all wagers taken online, in-person and at various off-track wagering facilities are placed into a common pool. The odds for every type of wager change based on the amount of money taken in for each wager type.
The more money that backs any one horse for any particular wager, the less that wager pays because there are more people to pay out when that wager wins. This is why the favorite horses always pay less than the long shot horses. A horse becomes a long shot when few people back that horse, which in turn means each person takes home a larger portion of the betting pool when that horse wins.
Each racetrack makes its money by taking a cut from the betting pool before calculating payouts. For example, Monmouth Park pays out 83% of the total betting pool. Thus, the racetrack has no interest in the outcome or who wins because it gets paid regardless.
NJ Horse Racing Betting Sites
4NJBets.com was the first horse racing site authorized by the New Jersey Racing Commission to date. Fortunately, 4NJBets is a high quality offering due to it being run by national horse racing entertainment brand TVG.
Despite it being the only online option in New Jersey for many years, 4NJBets offers new customers a fairly large welcome bonus and hosts regular promotions year-round. The requirements for opening an online racing account with 4NJBets are that you be at least 18 years old and a resident of New Jersey.
Online betting in New Jersey directly mimics betting in the real-world. In fact, all wagers taken online are pooled with the wagers taken at the track. This means you are paid at full track odds and support the local racing industry when you bet online. The tracks don’t mind at all, as they benefit from bigger wagering pools and increased interest.
You can visit 4NJBets at: www.4njbets.com
Betfair Exchange became the second online racing betting option for NJ residents in 2016. Where Betfair differs from traditional horse racing is that it is a form of exchange betting. In this form of betting, each wager is matched with a wager placed by someone else taking the opposite position.
For example, you can back a horse to win and you’ll be matched with someone who is betting on that same horse to lose. Prices are determined free-market style by supply and demand. You can set any price you want for a wager, but prices that are out of line go unmatched. Eventually, prices settle to a middle ground that attracts wagers on each side of every bet.
The one issue facing Betfair Exchange right now is that it is limited to residents of New Jersey. Exchanges need a large customer base to function properly. Otherwise, too many wagers go unmatched and people have a hard time finding action. Betfair does have some traffic now, but this is a site that still has some growing to do.
You can visit Betfair Exchange at: us.betfair.com
Physical Racetracks in New Jersey
New Jersey’s three physical racetracks accept in-person wagers at self-service betting terminals with a teller at one of the mutuel windows located at the track. The three active racetracks in New Jersey are:
Monmouth Park was established in 1870 and conducts races from May through October each year. After the Supreme Court legalized sports betting, Monmouth Park opened a sports book to begin taking wagers on sports. Today, customers can visit Monmouth Park to watch races, bet on horses and bet on sports.
Meadowlands Racetrack opened in 1976 and conducts thoroughbred and harness racing throughout the year. Wagers can be placed trackside at any of the teller-operated windows or self-service machines. You can also pick up a pin slip at a teller window and then visit BetsBigM.com on your phone or tablet to place mobile bets at the track.
Established in 1853, Freehold Raceway is the oldest racetrack in New Jersey and one of the oldest in the United States. Freehold Raceway holds Standardbred harness races 10 months a year.
Off Track Wagering in New Jersey
The Off-Track and Account Wagering Act of 2001 to authorize the opening of off-track locations allowing customers to bet on horse races while not physically present at a track. Live racing video is piped in to authorized off-track betting locations so customers can watch races in real time.
New Jersey now has six authorized OTBs:
Favorites at Egg Harbor
6055 Black Horse Pike
Egg Harbor, NJ 08235
Favorites at Hillsborough
150 Route 206
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Favorites at Gloucester
1300 Blackwood-Clementon Road
Clementon, NJ 08021
Favorites at Toms River
1071 Highway 37 West
Toms River, NJ 08755
Favorites at Woodbridge
3 LaFayette Road
Fords, NJ 08863
400 Route 440 North
Bayonne, NJ 07002