New Jersey to vote on college game sports bets

New Jersey lawmakers would like to amend the state constitution to allow college game sports bets on all major collegiate games. This would remove a major restriction in the state’s record-breaking sports betting market.

Recently, a bill calling for a 2021 public referendum was amended to significantly expand college game sports bets in New Jersey. Currently, state law prohibits betting on college games played within the borders of New Jersey. Also, state law prohibits sports betting on games played in other states by New Jersey college teams.

The Measure Moves Forward

Approved by the Senate Budget Committee, the measure is just the first of several steps required before it can be placed on the 2021 general election ballot.

Senator Paul Sarlo, a Democrat from northern New Jersey, representing the district that includes MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, said lawmakers decided to go ahead with a more comprehensive college sports betting bill. MetLife Stadium is where the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets play.

When first introduced, the bill would have only asked voters to approve betting on New Jersey college championship or playoff games. The newly revised measure would allow college game sports bets on regular-season games as well.

“We have the blessing of the Attorney General’s Office and the NCAA, plus a lot of the teams. We figured why not just go for the whole thing?” Sarlo said.

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NCAA College Game Sports Bets on the Table

The bill is primarily aimed at capitalizing on events such as the NCAA basketball championship tournament; the last time the NCAA championship was held in New Jersey was 2011, at Newark’s Prudential Center. The Prudential Center will host one of the NCAA’s regional tournaments in 2025. 

New Jersey officials hope that MetLife Stadium will also be play host to college football bowl games.

“Some of the top college teams will be here,” Sarlo said. “There will be a lot of sports betting and activity.”

College Game Sports Bets Will Help Atlantic City

The president of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey, Christina Renna said sports betting has helped the region’s economy without question, including Atlantic City’s nine casinos.

“All of this means more sports bets and more revenue coming into the state,” said Renna.

New Jersey has the fastest growing sports betting market in the country; in September, the Garden State blew past its own national record, raking in more than $748 million in sports bets from sports fans finally able to bet on football despite the coronavirus shutdowns.

Atlantic City’s three horse racing tracks, as well as the casinos, easily surpassed the national monthly sports betting record set just a month earlier, when $668 million sports bets were placed in August.

Both numbers easily surpassed what had been the national sports betting record of $614 million set by Nevada in November 2019.

New Jersey is the Sports Betting Capital of the USA

During just the first nine months of 2020, New Jersey casinos and race tracks have taken in close to $3.3 billion in sports betting revenue. That equals or exceeds what Atlantic City has traditionally made in an entire year from casino gambling.

In 2018, New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case allowing all 50 states to offer legal sports betting. Following that win, New Jersey quickly dominated the East Coast sports betting market, and even challenging Nevada for top place in the national.

September’s $748 million includes the total amount of bets accepted by both the casinos and race tracks, after paying winning bets. After expenses, the casinos and race tracks kept $45 million.

If passed, this latest bill expanding college game sports bets could very well cement New Jersey’s place as the number one sports betting jurisdiction in the country.

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