Updating the Status of Legal Betting on College Sports in New Jersey and Illinois

An individual state’s effort to legalize sports betting can be a long, drawn-out process. One of the biggest issues that are part of the process is to determine all the rules and regulations that govern legal betting.

As 2021 draws to a close, there are more than 30 states offering legal sports betting in some form. All of these states have rules and regulations in place governing legal betting on college sports.

Given the age factor of the participants, some states have put restrictions in place for betting on college athletics. The most common restriction is legal betting on in-state teams.

The general idea is to preserve the integrity of the games. That is why in certain states it is illegal to bet on any athletic event involving a college or university within that state’s borders.

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Legal College Sports Betting in New Jersey

New Jersey led the fight for the right to offer legal betting on sports within its borders. The NCAA was actually part of that case on the side of the federal government. The US Supreme Court ruled in New Jersey’s favor in May of 2018 in that landmark case.

Soon after, New Jersey became was one of the first legal sports markets in the US outside of Nevada. A key aspect of the necessary legislation to pave the way kept sports betting on in-state college teams illegal.

Over the past few years, New Jersey has grown to become the biggest state for legal sports betting in terms of monthly volume. More recently, there was an effort to amend the current state law to allow betting in in-state college teams.

The issue was left up to New Jersey voters in this past November election. Surprisingly enough for the biggest legal sports betting state in the country, the voters rejected the ballot referendum to make that change.

While wagering on college sports in general has always been legal in the state, bets on teams from schools such as Rutgers, Seton Hall and Princeton will remain ‘off the board’ in the Garden State.

Legal College Sports Betting in Illinois

Illinois was another state that banned sports bets on in-state college teams. That state went live with legal sports betting a few years back and it has quickly grown to become a major market in the US.

Looking for ways to increase both betting handle and revenue, House Bill 3136 was introduced with a number of changes to the current laws. One of those provisions was the legalization of sports betting on in-state colleges and universities.

Both the state Senate and House approved the measure by a wide margin. However, certain restrictions will remain in place.

Legal bets on in-state college teams will have to be placed at retail sportsbooks in the state. Most of the retail books are located in land-based casinos.

The only legal wager on in-state teams is on the “outcome of the game.” This includes straight bets or parlays on a game’s point spread and total line. Performance bets including “props” will remain illegal at this time.

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