How Is the Gambling Legislation in New Jersey?

by Staff

As gambling legislation is being introduced to regulate the industry across different American states, it’s worth remembering that New Jersey is ahead of the game.

What is the current legislation here and what options are open to people who want to gamble?


The Garden State has traditionally taken a relaxed approach to gamble. For example, New Jersey historically used the funds earned from their lottery games for military spending and to build colleges.

While lotteries were banned for over a century, New Jersey brought back its state lottery in 1975. In fact, this was the first computerized version of a numbers game to be launched in the US. Other popular types of gambling here have typically included betting on horse races. The Freehold Raceway is the country’s oldest race track and it has been holding horse races since the 1830s.

New Jersey had a period between the end of the 19th century and the start of World War Two when all types of gambling were completely prohibited. Gambling at racetracks could be carried out from 1939 onwards, with bingo games and raffles the next to be allowed.

Casinos were allowed in Atlantic City from the mid-1970s, meaning that New Jersey joined Nevada as the only states with legalized casinos. This also allowed the revitalization of tourist infrastructure in Atlantic City and was a big success.

The Arrival of Online Sports Betting

Sports betting was illegal here until the 2011 referendum on the subject. The public decided to approve its introduction, so from the start of 2012 the state’s casinos and racetracks could accept betting on sports events. Some restrictions were added in terms of not allowing bets on local college sports or any event elsewhere involving New Jersey college teams.

This led to a long period of legal battles, as the college leagues tried to stop it going ahead. New Jersey eventually won the case and those casinos and racetracks were allowed to accept wagers in 2018. This marked a new era for sports betting, and it also saw the state invite their license holders to apply for online sports betting licenses.

The very first online sports bets in New Jersey were placed in 2018 and it quickly became one of the country’s most important states in this industry. There are now close to 20 online sportsbooks that residents can use.

Online Casinos

New Jersey also helped to lead the way in the matter of online casino playing. This began in 2011, when a bill was proposed to allow any New Jersey resident aged 21 or over to place bets online. Since casinos were only allowed in Atlantic City, the debate was around how to ensure that only New Jersey residents could wager and only Atlantic City casinos could accept the bets.

The legislation had to be re-drafted to try and keep all of the interested parties happy, and it was finally passed in 2013 by a large majority in the New Jersey Legislature. The bill said that online casino gambling was allowed for a ten-year trial period and that the existing Atlantic City casinos could offer this option, with a 15% tax rate on their online gambling revenue.

As part of this act, geolocation services are used to ensure that only players in the state are able to access the regulated casino sites. The first sites launched in November of 2103, with a limited number of games available at the time. However, the massive success of online casinos led to the selection growing over time.

By 2017, the online gambling tax revenue in NJ had passed the $100 million mark and was greater than the amount generated by the three lowest-earning physical casinos in the state. By 2021, the online casinos here had reached the landmark figure of $1 billion in cumulative revenue for the year.  Many online casinos have pages just dedicated to NJ, as they know it’s one of the few states in the US that has less strict regulation.

However, if you are looking to bet on Bovada, you will have to wait as it allegedly is not licensed to operate in NJ yet. If you by any chance are traveling through NJ and you need to bet on Bovada you should use a VPN and then click here:

The Future 

At the moment, New Jersey has one of the most comprehensive sets of gambling options across the country. It’s easy to find somewhere to play in a land-based venue or online. This has helped the industry to grow here, which has, in turn, led to the creation of additional tax revenue for the state.

The last few years have seen some interesting advances in the industry, which point to an exciting future ahead. In terms of sports betting, improving technology now allows these sites to offer the latest odds on events from all over the planet, with live betting as games take place as one of the most popular ways of gambling.

Online casinos have also expanded their offering, with many including a huge selection of slots as well as live dealer table games. This has increased the entertainment factors on these sites and also makes it easier for players to find something that appeals to them.

The rich history of gambling in NJ and the fact that such a big selection of different methods is now available means that we can expect to see this sector continue to be important in the future. New technology and innovations will bring us new ways of gambling that should keep the industry progressing and growing too.

About the Author/s

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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