New Jersey Sports Betting Information
SportsHandle.com is your home for everything about legal New Jersey sports betting and legal NJ sports betting sites. In other words, we will answer, “Where can I bet on sports online in New Jersey?” You may be aware that New Jersey’s nearly decade-long battle against the NCAA and major pro sports leagues — which have blocked the state’s efforts to legalize NJ sports betting — has reached the Supreme Court of the United States.
The United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case, Murphy v NCAA, also known as the Supreme Court Sports Betting Case, on December 4, 2017. (The case was previously Christie v NCAA before Phil Murphy took over as Governor in January 2018).) Much more on the case below.
This case affects not only the possibility of New Jersey sports betting, but a win for New Jersey could bring legal betting in the U.S. to more than a dozen other states that are discussing sports-betting legislation. Among those states are Pennsylvania, New York, Iowa, Kansas and West Virginia. In fact, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have already legalized sports betting, pending the outcome of the Supreme Court case.
Legal NJ Sports Betting: Explainer on New Jersey Supreme Court Case, Sports Betting Laws, Sportsbooks, New Jersey Sports Betting Sites and More
A quarter century after Congress passed the federal law banning full-fledged sports betting outside Nevada — the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, aka PASPA — the possibility of legal sports betting in New Jersey has never looked more likely.
New Jersey has been the major driving force behind the push for legal sports betting for over a decade. In 2009, New Jersey tried and failed to bring a case challenging PASPA’s constitutionality. A district court dismissed the case for lack of “standing.”
Then in 2011, a public question appeared on New Jersey’s November general-election ballot, asking if the state constitution should be amended to authorize wagering on professional and amateur sports at casinos and racetracks. The referendum passed by a wide 64-36 margin.
Soon after, in 2012, the legislature amended the Casino Control Act and allowed the Casino Control Commission to begin offering licenses to casinos and racetracks to take sports bets. Later, then-governor Chris Christie and the state expressed an intention to go further and enact regulations to allow sports betting in Atlantic City casinos and racetracks, when the NFL, NCAA and other sports leagues sued to block the state from implementing any such sports betting. The leagues won that round and got an injunction in federal court, which stopped New Jersey in its tracks.
As noted in the PASPA section (below), the leagues have used the law to block New Jersey from legalizing sports betting — to preserve the “integrity of the game.” But that argument has crumbled in light of recent events, such as the sports leagues embracing and investing in daily fantasy sports, numerous games and sporting events taking place in Las Vegas, actual moves to Las Vegas (the NHL’s Golden Knights and the NFL’s Raiders coming soon), public remarks and writings in favor of legal sports betting by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and much more. This is more of a policy issue.
“Christie I” and the sequel “Christie II” Bring Us to the Present and Future
The lawsuit dubbed “Christie I” began to address the merits of New Jersey’s case and its various constitutional arguments against PASPA under the Tenth Amendment. It’s a long and somewhat complicated tale in a gray area of the law that involves state sovereignty and equal sovereignty (the idea that all states should be treated equally, or on equal footing), and an anti-commandeering doctrine (the federal government cannot compel the states to enact laws or dictate how it governs its own citizens).
Ultimately, New Jersey lost in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, where the court held that “while the guarantee of uniformity in treatment amongst the states cabins some of Congress’ powers, no such guarantee limits the Commerce Clause.” In other words, federal law may impact states differently, resulting in scenarios where, as here, Nevada may license sports betting operations, but New Jersey cannot. New Jersey also made an argument under the “anti-commandeering” doctrine. New Jersey’s argument did not convince the court, but the state did get an idea for a novel angle of attack, and also gained some traction with its arguments as one judge dissented from the majority.
In 2014, New Jersey executed a novel plan in “Christie II” by passing a law (Senate Bill 2460 by Senator Raymond Lesniak) that partially repealed its state prohibitions against sports wagering, which effectively would allow sports betting, without explicitly saying so (the law “partially repeals prohibitions, permits, licenses, and authorizations concerning wagers on professional, collegiate, or amateur sport contests or athletic events.”)
The Third Circuit noted “clever drafting” in the law by New Jersey, but ultimately did not find in the state’s favor. But once again, the court was split 2-1, followed by a rehearing en banc where New Jersey lost, 9-3. The court rejected the state’s anti-commandeering argument but didn’t squarely address the equal sovereignty arguments (explored in great depth here), which is probably where the state has its best shot at defeating PASPA.
But the case has at least one more chapter to be written.
In October 2016, New Jersey filed for a writ of certiorari (for a Supreme Court review) in the “Christie II” case. It was seen as a major long shot given that SCOTUS accepts such a small number of cases each year.
But then the high court asked the acting Solicitor General to file a brief on the case, which he did in May 2017, recommending that the court deny New Jersey’s petition. But then the Supreme Court decided to take up the case anyway. Not because the high court is terribly concerned about sports betting, but because of the way that PASPA works.
In an amicus brief (“friends of the court”), a coalition of 20 other states wrote that they “submit this brief in support of Petitioners because PASPA impermissibly skews the federal-state balance. Amici states take no position on the wisdom of sports wagering, nor would all amici likely legalize sports betting even if permitted.”
The major issue is that PASPA may be an unconstitutional, Tenth Amendment-based encroachment upon states’ rights. That is New Jersey’s argument. They argue that PASPA forces the state (and others) to maintain and enforce laws against sports betting. As opposed to the federal government actually creating laws to regulate or prohibit citizens directly.
And further, New Jersey argues that PASPA simply dictates a policy, but creates no framework whatsoever for states to follow with respect to sports-betting policy. This has wider ramifications for the interplay between federal and state laws and policy, and the outcome could impact the controversy over sanctuary cities.
As you can see, New Jersey has suffered numerous body blows from the leagues in federal and appeals courts. A decision is expected before the end of June, possibly in April.
- You may listen to the oral argument here, when high-powered, high-profile attorneys for both sides discuss the case with the nine Supreme Court justices.
- SportsHandle editor-in-chief Brett Smiley was in attendance for argument, and you can read his recap of arguments here and here (the more technical version).
Here you can find a round-up of predictions about the case’s outcome from Supreme Court observers and attorneys.
Visit Gambling and the Law, legal expert I. Nelson Rose’s website, for his breakdown of the case, argument and prediction (he likes New Jersey’s chances).
Other States Are Looking Ahead at Legal Sports Betting
The case has forced the entire nation to reconsider its stance on legal sports betting. New Jersey has multiple venues already in place that could handle legal New Jersey sports betting, including commercial casinos, horse racetracks and OTB parlors — on premises and online via approved applications.
[Related: Check out SportsHandle’s betting legislation tracker for the latest in every state]
If PASPA is struck completely, states would have the right to regulate, license and tax sports-betting operators, and many, including New Jersey, have already taken steps to begin this process.
But it’s also possible that the Supreme Court rules more narrowly in favor of New Jersey — allowing its “partial repeal” law to stand. As a result, New Jersey casinos and racetracks could and would begin sports-betting operations, however the state wouldn’t be able to regulate any of the sports betting — or tax it.
Chief Justice John Roberts noted during argument that this consequence would be completely at odds with what Congress intended to do with PASPA. In other words, he doesn’t like this scenario, and it’s unlikely, but possible it plays out this way.
Where You Would Likely to Be Able Bet on Sports in New Jersey: Casinos and Racetracks
In February of 2018, director of the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement, David Rebuck, said in a statement that New Jersey is accepting applications for businesses seeking licenses to have New Jersey sports wagering. They’re just considering general casino licensing applications at this time, not granting anything, because they can’t with the 2014 law hanging in the balance.
Contact information for where sports wagering in New Jersey is likely to be permitted is listed below.
New Jersey’s commercial casinos are in Atlantic City, along the boardwalk and, in general clustered together. As a group, they are Las Vegas-style casinos with large gaming floors and slot machines. All are run by national casino companies that have an interest in New Jersey sports betting. There are multiple casinos, including two by Hard Rock, that have been proposed for New Jersey, but have not yet been approved.
Bally’s Atlantic City
1900 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa
1 Borgata Way, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Caesars Atlantic City
2100 Pacific Avenue, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Huron & Brigantine Blvd., Atlantic City, New Jersey
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
(Formerly Trump Taj Mahal)
Set to reopen in summer or fall of 2018)
1000 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City
777 Harrah’s Blvd., Atlantic City, New Jersey
Resorts Casino Hotel
1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Tropicana Casino & Resort
2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
130 Park Avenue, Freehold, New Jersey
50 New Jersey 120, East Rutherford, New Jersey
175 Oceanport Ave., Oceanport, New Jersey
Favorites at Gloucester
1300 Blackwood Clementon Road, Clementon, New Jersey
Favorites at Hillsborough
150 US-206, Hillsborough Township, New Jersey
Favorites at Toms River
1071 Route 37 West, Toms River, New Jersey
Favorites at Vineland
1332 South Delsea Drive, Vineland, New Jersey
No web address
Favorites at Woodbridge
3 Lafayette Road, Fords, New Jersey
(732) 512 5025
Winners – Bayonne
400 Route 440 N. Bayonne, New Jersey
(201) 436 2570
What Kinds of Sports Wagering?
Well, this is an open question at this point, but if New Jersey wins and can introduce sports wagering, it would probably look just like Nevada’s: full-fledged sports wagering on almost every type of game and league under the sun, including the NFL, NBA, NCAA, NHL, Olympics, NASCAR and more, offering:
- Straight bets
- In-game wagering
- Futures bets
Patrons would almost certainly have the opportunity to place bets using mobile phones or online, as well. Currently New Jersey allows casino-style games online, so the infrastructure know-how and regulatory framework is in place. It remains to be seen if customers would have to register for a sports betting account in person at a licensed casino or track, or if they could do it remotely from within the state.
What Is the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act?
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA, is the 1992 law that prohibits sports betting in every state except Nevada. Ironically, New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, a former New York Knick, was a driving force behind the bill. The major driving forces behind the bill were to preserve the “integrity of the games,” to stop youths from betting on sports, and to prevent other states from legalizing sports betting.
At the time the law was passed, New Jersey was among the states that had one year to legalize sports betting, but the state failed to do so. Three states, Delaware, Montana and Oregon did take advantage of the one-year filing deadline to continue quasi-sports betting games. The law grants the U.S. attorney general and the leagues the power to go to the courts to block a state from legalizing sports betting, which is what the leagues have done with New Jersey.
For a full explanation of PASPA, click here.