Legal sports betting in New Jersey took a giant leap forward this week when state legislators passed a bill allowing casinos submit applications for sports betting licenses. The move is just the latest in a series of fast moving events that may bring legal sports betting to the Garden State in the very near future.

NJ Voters Spoke

This week’s action from the NJ State Government is a direct result of a non-binding resolution passed by Jersey voters on November 8 that asked whether or not casinos should be able to provide sports betting once it becomes legal. Governor Chris Christie also came out in favor of the resolution which is designed to move sports betting money from illegal bookies to regulated casinos and racetracks. And while voters overwhelmingly approved the resolution, the issue is by no means settled.

Once Christie signs the bill, the state will bring a suit to Federal Court asking that the long time Federal ban on sports betting be overturned. And while New Jersey voters think that sports betting is a great idea, the NFL, NCAA and their powerful lobbying operations disagree.

Fortunately, the NJ State Attorney won’t be going into court empty-handed. Jersey is just one of a handful of states that could be exempted from the ban because they had offered legal sports betting in the past.

Missed what’s led up to legalized sports betting in NJ? Check out what you might have missed: Chris Christie Endorses Legalized Gambling

Previous state leaders were less interested in pursuing legalization due, mostly, to pressure from the NFL and legal technicalities. (NFL Commissioners have long held that playoff games would not be held in states with legal sports betting. States with illegal betting industries are apparently exempt from this ban.) Slumping revenues at Atlantic City casinos have also contributed to the government’s change of heart on this issue.

This new legislation bans betting on college events held in the state, as well as betting on any college or professional teams based in the state. How casinos would handle New York Giants games remains to be seen. (The Giants are based in New York, but play in New Jersey.)

Interesting Tidbit for Affiliates

Affiliate marketers will be interested to know that this piece of legislation includes a section legalizing online sports betting for New Jersey residents. Presumably, this would be enforced by identifying IP addresses from personal computers, although there is a possibility that bets would be placed through kiosks at casinos and race tracks.

Opening Shots for Legalization?

For anyone in the iGaming industry, the events taking place are very significant and validating. Illegal gambling has long been winked at in many parts of the United States and is especially prevalent on the East Coast. Before the referendum, Governor Christie repeatedly related a story about sitting next to a fan at New York Giants game who complained to him when the team failed

NJ State Senator Raymond Lesniak pointed out in an interview with Jersey news site,, that newspapers have long published betting odds on a daily basis. “Do Congress and professional sports associations expect us to believe that these odds are published so New Jersey bettors can hop on a plane to place their bets legally?” he told the site. “I don’t think so.”

Will New Jersey’s legislative actions spark a larger wave of public support for legalized gaming? Let us know your opinion in our Online Gambling Laws & Regulation forum.

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