The state of New Jersey led the fight against the federal government and major sports leagues for the right to offer legal sports betting within its borders. That case went all the way to the US Supreme Court which ruled in the favor of state rights.
That historic court decision took place in May of 2018 and by June of that same year, New Jersey’s first land-based sportsbook was up and running in Monmouth Park Racetrack. Other state horse racing venues and Atlantic City casinos quickly followed suit with retail books.
New Jersey then expanded its sports betting industry by allowing online sportsbooks and mobile sports betting apps. Less than three years later, the Garden State is poised to be the No. 1 sports betting market in the country, passing Nevada.
As progressive as New Jersey has been in the entire gaming industry, rules against in-state college sports betting remain on the books.
The rules make it illegal to bet on any college sporting event that takes place in New Jersey. It is also illegal to bet on New Jersey college teams playing games in any state. This impacts larger universities such as Rutgers in the Big Ten and Seton Hall in the Big East.
The good news is that the political wheels to change these rules are now in motion.
Earlier in November, a proposed amendment to change this rule was unanimously approved by a state Senate panel. This legislation still has to make its way through the full House and Senate before it reaches the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy.
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The next step in the process is a state voter referendum that would approve the amendment to the state constitution. That would take place in 2021.
The main push behind this change was led by Sen. Paul Sarlo. This was in response to the NCAA scheduling the East Regional of the 2025 men’s basketball tournament in Newark.
The senator noted that the state would lose quite a bit of betting revenue given the overall popularity of wagering on the annual NCAA Tournament.
More than 20 different states have or will offer some form of legal sports betting as 2020 winds to a close. Yet, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Mississippi are the only three states that do not have any limits on college sports betting.
Another growing concern for the Garden State is lost sports betting revenue to neighboring PA. Betting on college football and basketball is big business these days. As the top betting market in the country, this amendment would keep all the college sports betting revenue within New Jersey borders.
Given the current political climate in the Garden State and the overall popularity among New Jersey bettors, it would be hard to see this amendment not being passed.
Records for monthly betting handles have been broken three months in a row with October’s topping $803 million. This is not only a New Jersey state record, it is now the national record for the most money bet on sports in a single month.