2018 was a historic year for sports betting law in the United States and it all started in the State of New Jersey.

The reason? A major decision by the United States Supreme Court that opened the door for each state in the country to decide its own rules around sports gambling.

The case was between Garden State Governor Phil Murphy and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Murphy and the New Jersey state government were in favor of overturning previous legislation banning sports gambling. The NCAA was on the other side and argued that the federal government’s anti-gambling laws trumped the state’s rights to make its own rules.

After a lengthy court battle, the Supreme Court found in favor of New Jersey, ruling that federal legislation actually infringed on the state’s constitutional rights to govern itself.

Following the decision, New Jersey quickly started offering real money sports betting at land-based casinos and at online betting sites and the best part is that it’s all 100% above board and legal.

On this page we’ll take a deep dive into sports betting legislation in New Jersey

The Current Online Sports Betting Situation in New Jersey

We’re happy to report that sports betting is legal in New Jersey.

Let’s take a look at the major developments in bullet form and then we’ll dig into the details:

New Jersey Sports Betting Laws Summary

  • New laws allow sports betting at casinos and racetracks in New Jersey.
  • Online sports betting is allowed too but the sites must also operate a land-based venue for sports gambling.
  • New sports betting websites have a 270-day grace period in which they can still operate online while building a land-based venue.
  • Betting is allowed on all professional sports and most collegiate sports.
  • Betting is not allowed on New Jersey collegiate teams or collegiate games happening in New Jersey.
  • Betting is not allowed on high school sports.
  • Sports betting revenue will be taxed at rates between 8.5 and 14.25 per cent depending on whether it’s live or online, and at a casino or a racetrack.

Phil Murphy took over from Chris Christie as the 56th Governor of New Jersey. He had been in office for just five months when he signed the state-wide law legalizing sports betting on June 18, 2018, barely a month after the Supreme Court decision.

Since then, casinos and racetracks operating in New Jersey have been able to offer sports betting to people in New Jersey legally, both at their land-based establishments and through online sportsbooks sites.

Sports betting is legal in the state of New Jersey.

In order for a casino or racetrack in New Jersey to offer online sports betting to people in New Jersey, they need to have a physical sportsbook where people can bet on games in person.

Casinos without a physical sportsbook in their establishment won’t miss out on early action, however; they get a maximum of 270 days to operate an online betting site while they build their physical sportsbook.

As a bonus, casinos and racetracks can have up to three uniquely branded sportsbooks online. Most will start with one, but the triple-license option will leave space for casinos to expand in the burgeoning online market.

To give you the idea of the kind of money we’re talking about, $2.9 million in revenue was collected through DraftKings’ online sportsbook in August of 2018 alone, before the NFL season even got underway. 

The current sports betting situation in New Jersey is outstanding if you love gambling on sports. There are tons of options for safe and secure places to make bets, both in land-based casinos and at online betting sites, and you can wager on almost any sport imaginable.

And since the sportsbooks are regulated and licensed by the state of New Jersey, a lot of people feel much safer and more confident signing up for accounts and making real money deposits and bets.

The History of Online Sports Betting in New Jersey

Regulated sports betting in New Jersey didn’t happen overnight. Here’s a blow-by-blow legal history of how we got here.

2011 Referendum on Sports Betting

New Jersey has always been more permissive towards gambling than most other states so it’s fitting that they’ve been on the forefront of legal state-wide sports betting since 2011. As successful as New Jersey has been in that department, they had to overcome a number of challenges to get there.

In 1961, the Federal Wire Act made inter-state sports betting illegal in the USA. The idea was to fight organized crime. However, the result was a multibillion-dollar grey-area industry that operated through offshore sportsbooks.

With time, opinions on gambling softened and New Jersey was the first state (after Nevada) to legalize casinos, restricting them to Atlantic City for tourism. Sports betting wasn’t really considered until New Jersey wanted to help boost casinos out of an economic downturn in 2010.

On November 8, 2011, 35 years after the state conducted a referendum on legal casino gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey conducted another gambling-related referendum, this time on the legalization of sports betting in-state. The result was clear: New Jersey residents wanted the freedom to bet on their favorite games.

Poll Results:

  • 91% of voters were in favor of legalized sports betting.
  • 09% of voters were against it.

Once the results were in, Senator Raymond Lesniak and Jeff Van Drew penned the Sports Wagering Act which was approved and signed by Gov. Chris Christie that following January. But the legislation was ultimately short-lived.

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA):

In 2012, Governor Christie was sued by several professional and amateur sports leagues, who claimed the new law was in direct violation of the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act created in 1992.

  • The Act aimed to protect the integrity of sports by making sports betting illegal in the USA, with the exception of Nevada sportsbooks, and sports lotteries that were already operating in three states.
  • A clause was included to permit licensed casinos to pass laws for sports betting up to one year after the Act was put in place—something New Jersey failed to do.

The sports leagues suing Christie included the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB and NCAA, all of whom won the case collectively in front of the District Court. But Christie wasn’t about to accept the ruling and back down; he filed an appeal in 2013 through the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately for Christie, the ruling came out the same.

2018 Supreme Court Decision

Five years later, the US Supreme Court accepted the case Christie vs. NCAA (later renamed Murphy vs. NCAA when Phil Murphy took over as governor) and on May 14, 2018, Justice Samuel Alito declared that the justices ruled in favor of New Jersey.

Justice Alito concluded that restricting sports betting was unconstitutional. The federal government could choose to regulate it, but if they didn’t, they couldn’t order states to ban it.

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 to eliminate the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, giving states the power to regulate or ban sports betting as they see fit.

Following the ruling, Murphy signed the sports wagering bill and soon after, New Jersey casinos and racetracks began offering sports betting to patrons.

Like we mentioned before, one of the rules was that in order to run an online sportsbook, the business must have a brick-and-mortar casino or racetrack. These establishments were free to enter the online sports betting market, with up to three licenses available for three uniquely branded online sportsbooks.

At the start of the 2018-19 NFL season, there were over eight online sportsbooks up and running in the state of New Jersey—mainly through casino apps and web domains. More will be unrolled as the season progresses.

Which Online Sports Betting Sites Are Legal in New Jersey?

In order for an online sportsbook to be legal in New Jersey, it must have a brick and mortar gambling establishment—be it casino or racetrack. A company cannot exclusively operate an online sports betting business in New Jersey. For that reason, all offshore sportsbooks remain illegal in New Jersey and can be detected by unconventional URL endings such as .eu. 

When legalization kicked off, casinos rushed at the chance to get in the game early. Having prepared the infrastructure to accommodate legal sports betting long before it happened, Monmouth Park was the first place to offer sports betting in New Jersey, with Gov. Phil Murphy being the first person in line to place a wager.

The following 10 New Jersey sportsbooks are already taking bets 100% legally:

  • DraftKings Sportsbook (Resorts Casino Hotel)
  • 888 Sportsbook (Caesars)
  • FanDuel Sportsbook (Meadowlands Racetrack)
  • SugarHouse Sportsbook (Golden Nugget)
  • Caesars Casino Sports (Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, technology provided by Scientific Games)
  • Caesars Casino Sports (Bally’s Atlantic City)
  • BetStars Sportsbook (Resorts)
  • William Hill US (Monmouth Park Race & Sportsbook)
  • William Hill US (Ocean Resort Casino)
  • PlayMGM (Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa)

All these sportsbooks are affiliated with the physical casino or racetrack in brackets and are based in New Jersey, ensuring a safe and secure betting experience for the public.

To deter competition from illegal sportsbooks, any sportsbook that is opened without the necessary license risks being fined up to $25,000 for an individual, and $100,000 for a business or partnership.

What Sports Can You Bet on Online in New Jersey?

Almost all sports are available for betting in New Jersey, including major leagues like MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL. For the most part, college sports like NCAA are available too, but there are some exceptions. High school sports can’t be bet on at all, and you can’t you bet on a college game happening in New Jersey.

Nor can you bet on college games taking place outside of New Jersey that involve New Jersey teams. That means it’s not possible to bet on the Monmouth-New Jersey Hawks or the New Jersey Tech Highlanders.

Betting options in New Jersey aren’t restricted to mainstream sports either. Small market sports like CFL and NASCAR as well as non-traditional sports like eSports are all available for betting in New Jersey. You just have to find the right sportsbook to get the best options.

To give you an idea of what’s available, check out the following sports offered by DraftKings Sportsbook, which offers spread betting, live betting, futures, and more:

  • NFL
  • NBA
  • MLB
  • Golf
  • NHL
  • NAS
  • MMA
  • Soccer
  • CFL
  • CFB
  • LOL (League of Legends eSports)
  • EL (Euro League Fantasy Basketball)
  • Tennis

How to Bet on Sports Legally in New Jersey

If you’re a resident of New Jersey, or visiting the state, there are a few main ways to place bets on your favorite sports and they’re all really convenient.

The easiest and most convenient way is to use one of the online sports betting sites we covered earlier. There are lots to choose from and since there’s so much competition, sites offer big bonuses and incentives to entice you into signing up with them.

If you’re in New Jersey now, check out our list of recommended sites to easily compare what they offer in terms of sports, bets, odds and bonuses.

The signup process is really simple. After you choose a site you’ll have to provide some personal information, choose a username and password and confirm that you’re 18 years or older.

If you’re a sportsbetting beginner, make sure to check out our guides to betting for tons of valuable information.

The second way to place bets is to physically go to a casino or sportsbook. There are lots of different options including the ones we listed above that are affiliate with the online betting sites.

Going to a live sportsbook is a great experience since you can watch the games with a big group of other gamblers. The atmosphere is electric and it definitely adds a different dimension to the gambling experience.

What Is the Future of Online Sports Betting in New Jersey?

When sports betting was first officially legalized in New Jersey, the state didn’t have all the necessary provisions to regulate it. That didn’t slow them down though.

Not wanting to miss out on early action, New Jersey lawmakers put into place many temporary procedures, just to get things going in time for NFL kick-off. For example, casinos and racetracks have a grace period of 270 days to operate an online sportsbook while building their physical one. As time goes on, the licensing and permitting processes will be streamlined, and fewer exceptions will be made.

Upon legalization, the first two options available to people wanting to wager on a game was to do it:

  • Online through a legal sportsbook.
  • At a counter in the casino or racetrack’s brick-and-mortar sportsbook.

A third addition will be through sports betting kiosks at land-based casinos and racetracks. This will provide the public with the opportunity to bet without having to wait in line at a counter.

That being said, the convenience of a kiosk can’t compete with the convenience of mobile betting. The ideal sports betting scenario will allow sports fans to find their seat at a venue, sit down, and bet on their team through an app. Monitors could always be used to accommodate this, but providing the public with free access to WiFi is a cheaper and easier option.

Advances in live betting make this prospect even more exciting. Live betting is when you make wagers on the fly as the game plays out and includes traditional bets like moneylines and spreads as well as more exciting proposition bets like who will score the next point.

Legal gambling in New Jersey

New Jersey Leading Charge for New Era of US Sports Betting

Sports betting in New Jersey is the first step towards a more engaging and comprehensive spectating experience for American sports fans who’ve been kept in the dark ages for far too long.

Europe is a great example of how well a sports gambling industry can be. For hundreds of years, Europeans have been betting on sports teams in a regulated industry that generates over $100 billion each year. America still has some ways to go before it can compete with Europe in terms of sports betting options, but it’s certainly heading in the right direction.

In the wake of the 2018 SCOTUS decision, New Jersey was poised to be the first into the pool and thanks to the state’s hard-fought battle, residents and visitors to New Jersey can now enjoy totally legal, safe and regulated sports betting both online and at land-based casinos and sportsbooks.

New Jersey has also done Americans in other states a big favor. First off, they put in an incredible amount of work to get the Supreme Court decision. Second, New Jersey’s laws, regulations and infrastructure will act as a blueprint for other states that want to follow in its footsteps.

New Jersey Online Sports Betting FAQs

Here are answers to the New Jersey sports betting questions we’re asked most frequently:

Is sports betting legal in New Jersey?

Yes. Sports betting has been legal in land-based casinos and racetracks as well as at online betting websites since June 18, 2018.

Where can I bet on sports in New Jersey?

There are a number of casinos and sportsbooks that offer sports betting both in person and online through websites and sports betting apps.

The companies currently taking bets include DraftKings Sportsbook (Resorts Casino Hotel), 888 Sportsbook (Caesars), FanDuel Sportsbook (Meadowlands Racetrack), SugarHouse Sportsbook (Golden Nugget), Caesars Casino Sports (Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and Bally’s Atlantic City), BetStars Sportsbook (Resorts). William Hill US (Monmouth Park Race & Sportsbook, Ocean Resort Casino) and PlayMGM (Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa)

What sports can I bet on in New Jersey?

New Jersey’s new sports gambling laws allow wagering on all pro sports and most collegiate sports. It also allows for betting on e-sports.

What sports are illegal to bet on in New Jersey?

Betting on high school sports is not allowed and neither is betting on collegiate teams based in New Jersey or collegiate games happening in New Jersey.

Is it illegal to bet using off-shore sports betting websites?

While it’s technically not illegal to make bets with off-shore sites, there is increased risk associated with doing so. There are also fines of up to $100,000 for operating an illegal sportsbook. We recommend choosing one of the many legal and excellent options listed on this page.

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