It’s only been 16 months since the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey. And while the Garden State has certainly benefited from the change, the newly eligible sports fans may be finding the transition to the legal side hard to adapt to.
Most notably, the rollout of the NJ Sports Lottery has been met with significant issues. The state-run sports lottery, which offered odds on sporting events, had a rough start, as only six of its 28 games were able to be launched due to technological limitations.
Since then, the lottery has been in a state of flux, as its administrators scrambled to get the apps optimized for both Apple and Android devices. This spring, the lottery finally launched its 28th game, the NCAA college football playoff semifinal between Ohio State and Notre Dame. But while that may be an indication that the wait was finally over, it’s also a reminder that New Jersey’s first and only legal sportsbook still isn’t quite ready for prime time.
Odds And Ends
With the summer months upon us, it’s a perfect time for sports bettors in New Jersey to get back in the game. And with the rollout of the NJ Sports Lottery temporarily put on hold, that’s exactly what they’re doing. While the odds on the NCAA basketball tournament may not be as attractive as they could be, there are plenty of other sports books that are looking to make a name for themselves. And it’s not just the fans who have an interest in seeing the underdogs win either. Bookmakers are beginning to realize that there’s money to be made sports betting on the long shots too.
Poker Is Legal In New Jersey, But Only For Awhile
One of the first acts of the New Jersey legislature after legalizing sports betting was to extend gambling laws to include poker. In doing so, the state became the first in the nation to allow the game, though it remained the domain of the wealthy. While the state has opened the door to online and mobile poker, it would still be illegal to actually play poker in New Jersey. The only option for recreational poker players in the state would be to relocate to Pennsylvania or another state where the game is legal.
Poker And Betting: Separated At First Bloom
When it comes to separating the sports from the gambling, New Jersey generally does it right. The first legal betting shop in the state opened in 2007, just a few years after the first legalized sports book in the country, the New York Giants/New York Jets National Football League odds and betting exchange, eventually grew into a full-fledged chain. According to co-founder Eric Milch, the NJ online sportsbook opened with the intention of creating a completely separate entity from the gambling. The thinking was that if the bookmaker was going to be regulated, it made sense for it to be a separate business entity.
The Lottery Is Still A Work In Progress
The one area that New Jersey hasn’t quite been able to separate from gambling is the lottery. In the 2016 fiscal year, the lottery in New Jersey received over $60 million in taxpayer funds, not including any additional revenue that might be generated from tickets or games that are taxed as ordinary income. And given the state’s continued revenue problems, it’s not hard to see why the legislature decided to combine lottery ticket sales with gambling. But even with the addition of poker and other games, the lottery continues to be a major part of the state budget. It remains to be seen whether or not the NJ Sports Lottery will be a financial windfall for the state, as the odds of winning are extremely low. And with the government’s hands-on involvement in the lottery, there’s always the chance that it could implode from within.
Why Is NJ’s Gambling Industry Still Regulated?
New Jersey is one of the most populated states in the country, and they have a lot of gambling fans. The state saw an opportunity to not only make money off of their passionate sports fans, but use the newly legalized gambling industry as a way to increase revenue and bring in more tax dollars. They passed a law that allowed the sports betting and other types of gambling, but left the regulation of those games to the casinos and racetracks. And while there have been some notable improvements to the state’s sports betting industry since it became legal, there are still significant issues that the fans of New Jersey may have to deal with. For instance, while it is currently legal to place bets on sporting events in New Jersey, those bets still have to be placed through an offshore gambling website, due to technical limitations. The offshore sites handle all the legal financial transactions, and New Jersey simply handles the administrative tasks, like keeping track of the wins and losses.
The Future Of Sports In New Jersey
Despite the issues that the state’s first legal sportsbook is facing, it’s still early days for New Jersey. The sports betting and wagering industry is still somewhat of a novelty in the state, and it’s a bit of a catch-22 for bettors. While it is currently legal to place bets on sporting events in New Jersey, those bets still have to be placed through an offshore gambling website, due to technical limitations. The offshore sites handle all the legal financial transactions, and New Jersey simply handles the administrative tasks, like keeping track of the wins and losses.
Overall, it’s still kind of a grey area when it comes to sports betting and wagering in New Jersey. The issues that the state is currently facing would most likely not even exist if New Jersey had decided to leave the regulation of sports betting and other types of gambling to the casinos and racetracks. But while the ability to place bets and the convenience of online betting may be attractive to some, the state is still a bit of a risk factor for those interested in sports betting.