NJ Bill to Allow Betting On Non-Sport Competitions Advances

Punters in New Jersey may soon be allowed to wager on entertainment events such as the Oscars or Grammys. If the bill is passed, bettors in the Garden State could also wager on sports like eating competitions through regulated betting sites such as FanDuel NJ or BetMGM NJ.

Currently, the law doesn’t allow bettors to wager legally on such events on these regulated sites. But the senators that introduced the bill, Senator Jim Beach (D-6th) and Chris Brown (R-2nd) are determined to change all that. If passed, the bill will loosen the legal definition of what a sporting event is which will make room for non-sporting events like hotdog eating contests. 

For people to wager on such events, they have always needed special authorization from the Division of Gaming Enforcement. Like most reforms designed to give punters as much variety as possible, the bill has received tremendous support. So much so that it has already received the nod from the NJ Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. 

If signed into law, NJ will officially be the first state to permit the practice. Apart from widening the angle on sports betting in the Garden State, the bill is also seeking to limit esports tournaments to minors under 18. 

Indeed, most esports gamers tend to be younger participants that are also underage. As esports continues to advance and as more people choose to wager on it, the state is looking to keep these young players safe and protected.


Fixed-odds wagering also making its way to New Jersey

Apart from allowing wagering on non-sport competitions, the legislators are also one step closer to permitting fixed odds betting in New Jersey. Currently, New Jersey doesn’t have a measure that allows fixed odds betting on horse races.  2 bills were recently approved by committees in the General Assembly, as well as the Senate. The first bill, known as Bill A4909, was introduced by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer and Assemblyman Ralph Caputo.

Bill A4909 was successfully referred to the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, where it was approved unanimously to advance to the Appropriations Committee. After another long hearing by the Appropriations Committee, A4909 received another unanimous vote although one member opted not to vote. 

The second bill, which is almost similar to the first bill, S3090 was sponsored by Sen. Vin Gopal and Sen. Paul Sarlo. This bill was referred to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee where it also received overwhelming support from the members. 

Bill S3090 is looking to permit fixed-odds betting in New Jersey. At present, only pari-mutuel betting is allowed. The bill also has provisions for casinos to pay 59% on profits generated. In the next phase, the bill needs a full vote by members of the General Assembly floor, as well as the Senate. If it successfully passes through this legislative process, the bill will then be sent to the Governors for consideration and consequent signing into law.

Fixed-odds wagering coming to New Jersey will benefit the punters most of all, who currently remain limited by the few options available. Another big winner when fixed-odds wagering is legalized will be BetMakers and PointsBet. Fixed-odds wagering allows bettors to wager on horses utilizing the odds posted at the time the gamble is placed.

Last year, PointsBet and BetMakers, an Australian-based sportsbook partnered up and introduced fixed odds betting to New Jersey punters for the first time. The launch has been highly anticipated, which probably helps to explain why the fixed odds wagering bill has received such tremendous support from legislators. BetMakers also reached an agreement with Monmouth Park that will see it provide on-course management for fixed-odds wagering once it is legalized. 


Why allow fixed odds betting now?

Apart from offering punters another great option for placing wagers, fixed odds betting is also intended to provide the punter with enhanced transparency, as most sports betting operators do. Fixed-odds betting is also something that younger bettors lean towards. As such, by legalizing fixed odds betting in the Garden State, operators are hoping to attract a younger pool of punters. Fixed-odds betting will also satisfy frustrated bettors who often aren’t rewarded for their bets on the morning line. 

Fixed-odds betting may be new to New Jersey bettors, but it has been available all over the world for years. It is especially popular in Europe, as well as in Australia, where it has been offered to bettors for over 10 years. In the coming months, the state will want to do everything possible to educate NJ bettors about fixed-odds wagering so that they can be adequately prepared when it launches. 


NJ college sports betting bill also close to actualization

The NJ Assembly panel is also inching closer to legalizing sports wagering on NJ college teams. Currently, the law prevents casinos, tracks, and online betting apps to accept wagers on college teams. But as you’ve seen from all the bills discussed above, the state’s legislators are very eager to expand betting.

The legislators were hoping to pass the bill before the start of March Madness, but the process is still largely underway and might be for some time. Betting on college sports or any athletic events involving college participants is not permitted in the state. However, if passed, any college event, as well as the participants, will be up for wagering. 

When allowed, betting on college teams and members will only be allowed at the state’s existing casinos and racetracks. There have always been concerns about the inclusion of college teams and students in sports wagering. But now that sports betting has been in existence for over 4 years now, the legislators feel adequately prepared that the market can handle this new addition.


Final Thoughts

The NJ sports betting market has been making waves for years now, becoming the first in the country to set the tone. With all these bills discussed above, New Jersey is looking to cement its place as the market leader in the country, a role that it has held since 2018.

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