You might be ecstatic to know that horse racing, sports betting, and lottery betting are all perfectly legal in New Jersey. But just because they are sanctioned by the government doesn’t mean that you can’t get into trouble. There are certain situations where you could potentially be breaking the law. It’s important to know the boundaries and know your rights before getting involved in any illegal activities involving betting or sports. Here’s a quick guide to when is betting legal in New Jersey and what restrictions there are:
When Is Betting Legal?
You might assume that because it’s legalized in New Jersey, it’s automatically legal everywhere else in the United States. This is not true. However, as a general rule, the more restrictive a state’s law is regarding sports betting, the more tempting it is for bookmakers to establish operations there. That way, they can take advantage of a loosely-regulated market. In New Jersey, you have to adhere to the following laws when it comes to betting:
- The Legal Age To Bet Is 18 Years Old.
- It’s An Illicit Gambling Activity.
- Punters Can’t Bet On Sports Where They Live.
- Betting On Horse Racing And Sport Predictions Is Allowed.
- Strict Limits On How Much You Can Bet.
- You Must Keep Records Of Your Activity.
- Licensed Bookmakers Must Pay Taxes On Profits.
- If You’re Found To Be Operating An Unlicensed Bookmaker, You Could Face Jail Time.
- It’s Illegal To Gamble If You’re Feeling Emotional Or Unwell.
- Betting On Football Is Prohibited In Some States.
The Legal Age To Bet Is 18 Years Old.
It might surprise you to learn that the legal age to bet in New Jersey is actually 18 years old. That means that you can’t simply engage in any type of betting activity with a minor. However, there’s an exception to this rule, which allows parents to legally gamble with their underage children if they adhere to certain boundaries. The following are the conditions that must be met in order for a parent to gamble with their child:
- The child’s birthday must be over 18 years old.
- The parents must adhere to the legal gambling age of 18 years old.
- The child does not have to be related to the parent who is gambling.
- The child does not have to live with the parent who is gambling.
- The gambling activity must be supervised by an adult who is not genetically related to the child.
It’s An Illicit Gambling Activity.
Understandably, authorities in New Jersey want to make sure that gambling is kept to a minimum. That’s why the activities are considered illicit. However, the law also makes it illegal to promote or advertise gambling. Anyone who is part of the illegal promotion of gambling could face up to five years in prison. The fact that the activity is considered illegal does not mean that it is restricted to certain locations or times. The activity can happen anywhere and at any time, as long as it’s not advertised or promoted.
Punters Can’t Bet On Sports Where They Live.
It’s not easy being a sports fan in New Jersey, especially when your team is losing. In fact, it’s downright embarrassing when your favorite baseball, basketball, or football team is on the losing end of the score. Even more so when the losing streak continues and the sports betting public is losing faith in your team’s ability to win. Punters in New Jersey (and anywhere else in the U.S.) can’t legally bet on professional sports games where they live. The only exception to this rule are cases where the sports books are willing to take bets on overseas games. This is usually done in cases where a game is considered “neutral” territory. For example, if you’re in the U.S. and bet on the Boston Red Sox, but the game is being played in Toronto, you’re breaking the law. That’s because you can’t bet on a team you don’t support. Doing so would be considered “posing” as much as actual gambling. However, as long as the bet is on the legality of the game, it’s considered legal.
Betting On Horse Racing And Sport Predictions Is Allowed.
In New Jersey, you can’t put a bet on a sporting event that has less than seven days to go. In similar fashion, you can’t bet on an event that has already begun except in cases where the public is given odds on the eventual outcome of the game.
Strict Limits On How Much You Can Bet.
Just like with most other types of gambling, there are limits to how much you can actually bet in New Jersey. The following are the maximum amounts that you can wager on sports:
- For Football: $2,500
- For Basketball: $2,500
- For Baseball: $2,500
These limits are set by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. If you go over those limits, you will face prosecution. The good thing is that those who are caught can file for legal permission to bet again.
You Must Keep Records Of Your Activity.
It’s important to keep accurate records of your sports betting activity. Not only will it help you determine how much you’re allowed to wager, but it could also help you determine whether or not you’re breaking any laws. It’s a good idea to keep these records in a way that is easily accessible. That way, if you ever get audited by the IRS or any other type of authority, you’ll readily be able to provide them with proof that you are adhering to the legal limits set by the state. Furthermore, the records will be evidence that you are not breaking any laws.
If You’re Found To Be Operating An Unlicensed Bookmaker, You Could Face Jail Time.
The penalty for operating an unlicensed bookmaking operation in New Jersey is severe. Not only could you face jail time, but you could also lose your sports betting privileges. The following are the minimum and maximum sentences that you could face for operating an unlicensed bookmaking business in New Jersey:
- First Offense: Up to three years in prison
- Second Offense: Up to seven years in prison
- Third Offense: Up to ten years in prison
- Fourth Offense: Up to twenty years in prison
- Fifth Offense: Life imprisonment or death penalty
- Sixth Offense: Life imprisonment or death penalty
The penalty for operating an unlicensed sportsbook is usually much more than the penalty for operating an unlicensed bookmaking operation. That’s because bookmaking is considered a Tier 1 offense, while sportsbooking is considered a Tier 2 offense. As a result, the maximum penalty for operating an unlicensed sportsbook is usually double that of an unlicensed bookmaking operation.
It’s Illegal To Gamble If You’re Feeling Emotional Or Unwell.
It’s also against the law to gamble if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Thankfully, none of that is necessary to be considered breaking the law when it comes to sports betting. However, you still have to be careful about how you approach the activity. If you ever feel that you’re not behaving in a way that is suitable for a professional gambler, then it’s probably best to abstain from the activity altogether. Especially if you’re driving, drinking alcohol, or taking medication that could potentially affect your mental faculties. There are situations where those who are ill could still undergo a treatment and return to a healthy lifestyle, but you should never assume that a gambler is healthy just because they’re a certain age or that they have no apparent medical issues.
Betting On Football Is Prohibited In Some States.
If you live in one of the following states, it’s generally illegal to bet on American football: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wyoming. It’s also against the law to bet on any game that is considered “proprietary.” That usually means that the bookmakers must maintain a certain amount of ownership over the games that they promote.