Why Betting Is Suspended in New Jersey

With the start of the new year, many sportsbooks, casinos and online betting shops are adjusting to the post-pandemic world. One of the first sportsbooks to close was the New Jersey Sportsbooks. This is because the Garden State has officially banned sports betting. In New Jersey, you cannot book bets on sporting events and you are not allowed to openly discuss gambling. The state has taken a bold stance on gambling, considering it to be an addiction that can cause significant damage to individuals, families and communities. Given the new guidelines, it is not all that hard to see why many sportsbooks and betting shops have decided to take the state out of their business.


The first and foremost reason for the ban is simple: the state deems sports betting to be immoral. According to New Jersey law, ‘[a]ll persons concerned in gambling activities, including bookmakers, sportswriters, broadcasters, and employees and contractors of gambling businesses are guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both’.

New Jersey has taken a hardline stance against gambling, considering it to be a social issue, not solely a financial one. The state has sought to eradicate gambling through educating their citizens about the dangers that it poses. One of the chief advocates of the ban in New Jersey was former professional football player Aaron Hernandez. Back in 2015, Hernandez opened up about his battle with addiction, saying, “I had problems with gambling. I would lay huge stacks of cash and stay up all night trying to win back what I lost. It got to a point where I had to ask for help.”

Although the ban does not necessarily apply to horse racing or dog breeding – as those are considered to be ‘traditional activities’ under state law – it essentially forbids any type of gambling. The state has cited the potential for abuse as well as the harmful effects that it has on individuals as the reasons behind this ban.

Money Laundering

Another reason why the Garden State has banned all forms of gambling is that it wants to make sure that its citizens are not using gambling as a way to launder money. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, ‘[a]ll money deposited into a bank account containing more than $10,000 must be reported to the IRS within 24 hours. Failure to do so is a violation of federal law’.

It is not just the potential for money laundering that the state wants to avoid. According to regulators, outright illegal activity, such as the use of ‘fantasy sports’ to gamble, is also considered a threat to society.

Problem Gambling

A 2018 survey from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) found that more than 1.7 million American adults experience some type of gambling problem, whether it is social, financial or both. Problem gambling is characterized by continued involvement in gambling activities despite serious negative consequences. The study also found that 22% of adults reported that they had experienced problems with sports gambling. Unfortunately, many people, particularly minors, are unaware of the damage that problem gambling can cause.

The study reported that the top three factors contributing to gambling problems are: feeling not ready to cope without betting, wanting to keep betting to feel self-sufficient and having a desire to reduce stress. If you think that you or someone you know might be struggling with a gambling problem, please seek help by contacting a reputable gamblers anonymous charity like the ones listed on our website.

Community Impact

It is widely assumed that lotteries and gambling stimulate economic activity and create jobs. However, that is not necessarily the case. Gambling, in particular, has a disproportionate impact on communities. It is a fact that most illegal and unregulated gambling takes place in, and is concentrated in, low-income and minority areas. Regulated gambling, such as that found in casinos, has an even greater impact on society as a whole. The economic benefits that are touted by gamblers’ organizations and casinos rarely reach those communities that are negatively affected by their activities.

There is a reason why gambling, specifically sports gambling, is illegal in New Jersey: it is seen as a social issue, not a financial one. This sentiment is reflected in the tough stance that the state has taken against illegal gambling. In general, states who have taken a hard stance against gambling have sought to protect their communities from the adverse social and economic impacts that it can cause. Given the harms associated with gambling, it is not difficult to understand why the state has sought to limit its activities. However, this does not mean that all forms of gambling, including social gaming, will be outlawed in New Jersey. While it is difficult to predict what the future holds for the state’s stance on gambling, one thing is for sure: it will continue to be prohibited until further notice.