When it comes to the right to gamble, there will be some states in the US that are deeply envious of New Jersey. New Jersey state laws smile kindlier on gambling and allow people a little more freedom than in some other states. The resort of Atlantic City, with all its casinos, has helped secure New Jersey as a state that’s tolerant of people enjoying a flutter.
Impact of gambling on New Jersey’s economy
Online gaming contributes massively to the New Jersey economy… so much so that it’s a surprise that other states haven’t opened themselves more to it. Here are just a few stats sources online have quoted:
- Between 2013 and 2018, online gaming generated $259.3 million in tax revenue to state and local governments.
- Between 2013 and 2018, the industry created 6,552 jobs.
- Between 2013 and 2019, the industry generated $2 billion in value of sales.
Then in 2020, according to Bloomberg, the state’s nine land-based casinos generated $1.5 billion in gambling revenue.
Not only this, but in heady economic times, online gambling has come to the rescue, serving as something of a safety net when land-based casinos are flagging. Taxation on online gambling is higher, at 15% of sales, whereas on brick-and-mortar casino gambling it’s 8%.
Online gambling in New Jersey
New Jersey has revised some of the harsh laws around online gaming. The state seems to be warming more and more to it, whereas before, even if a site operator were based outside New Jersey, any resident from New Jersey would have been breaking state law if they played on the site.
The official state of New Jersey site sets out a list of online casinos that can operate legally and where citizens can play. These sites can operate legally 24 hours a day. Anyone not on the list is not approved, and the state can’t protect the people who use them.
The list isn’t finite, however, and other budding online casino operators may apply for a license.
With online gaming now being legal, the betting community platform OLBG put together this page for where NJ residents can play slots.
Not that it already wasn’t but New Jersey really put itself on the map, in gambling terms, when it challenged US gambling laws and won.
In May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that states could decide for themselves whether they wished to legalise sports betting. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act had barred states from allowing punters to bet on sport games. Nevada was the only state in which it was legal.
New Jersey fought this, and had been doing so for several years, saying that the law was unconstitutional. As far back as 2011, the state had been working to establish sports betting as a legal activity in the state, but top professional sports had filed a lawsuit against New Jersey and the legalization had been blocked.
Finally, the Supreme Court agreed with New Jersey, however, much to the dismay of the NBA, the NHL and Major League Baseball, who had feared allowing sports betting would damage the integrity of the game. Governor Phil Murphy wasted no time in signing legislation to make it legal in the state, and he even tweeted that he felt legalizing sports betting was the right move for the state and would strengthen its economy.
Now, New Jersey residents enjoy a lot of freedom to bet on games and can place bets are racetracks, casinos and other venues, if the facilities offer it. The only rule seems to be that punters can’t bet on college games or on events that involve New Jersey teams, or on high school games. Of course, if you’re player, referee, coach, member of staff, or are involved in professional sport in any other way, then you’re also not permitted to bet on sports.
The barrier to entry for operators is low as well, which creates more choice for consumers, but perhaps the state will always be behind offshore markets in terms of their offering. As time goes on, however, they may soon catch.
The future of gambling
The decision of the Supreme Court has been huge, and New Jersey state authorities haven’t been the only ones working on making the most of the ruling. A whole host of states have been working on creating and implementing legislation to make sports betting a legal activity in their state.
By November 2020, only Idaho, Wisconsin and Utah hadn’t announced any bills to legalize sports betting. That doesn’t mean to say that the former two won’t. Utah, however, looks highly unlikely. The state has a firm anti-gambling stance and has written it into the state constitution. To do legalize sports betting would be a major departure from its position. Even lottery tickets are a no-no.
It also looks like the New Jersey sportsbook market is only going to grow stronger. Even in times of turbulence, the market has demonstrated the power to perform strongly and grew towards the end of 2020. The NFL has been one of the largest draws, if not the largest one.
New Jersey has always been slightly more liberal towards gambling than many other states but has taken a further step forwards and started to welcome online gaming. The future looks bright for the state’s online gaming industry.