New Jersey voters may have the opportunity to legalize sports betting on in-state colleges in an upcoming general election.
The New Jersey Senate moved a bill ahead, SCR133, by a vote of 36-1. It’s the hope of New Jersey lawmakers that the constitutional amendment to legalize in-state college sports betting will be placed on the ballot for the November 2021 general election.
In-State College Sports Betting in the Voters’ Hands
New Jersey does not currently allow sports betting on college sport or athletic events taking place in the state. It also prohibits wagering on an event in which a New Jersey college team participates
If approved the constitutional amendment would allow the state legislature to pass laws permitting wagering on any college sport or athletic event. It would permit wagering even if a New Jersey college team participates in the competition.
A resolution to amend the state constitution to allow for sports betting on all in-state collegiate events and events including in-state institutions was approved earlier this month by the New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming and Arts Committee.
“From a competitive edge we should have what other states have in regards to collegiate betting,” Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2) told Esny in a previous interview.
When the original sports betting bill was crafted the state included the college sports prohibition in the document to account for the potential ethics violations it may present. Moving forward, it’s important for the state to optimize the sports betting bill and include in-state collegiate events, Mazzeo said.
Increase in New Jersey Tourism?
Mazzeo represents District 2, which includes Atlantic City, so anything that could potentially increase tourism is a good thing for the state.
“I could see many people coming down to Atlantic City, to bet on their favorite New Jersey college team, and make a night or a weekend of it,” he previously said.
New Jersey recently reported more than $747 million in sports betting handle in April, up 138% from April 2020.
Total gaming revenue in the state for April was $352.2 million, an increase of more than 326% from the $82.6 million in reported sports betting revenue in April 2020.
The $747.8 million in sports betting handle is down slightly from March’s $859.6 million, which was to be expected. The men’s NCAA basketball tournament in March pushes betting totals up each year.
Top five U.S. states in sports betting handle since PASPA repeal (June 2018-present):
1. Nevada: $14.5 billion
2. New Jersey: $14.4 billion
3. Pennsylvania: $6.8 billion
4. Illinois: $3.6 billion
5. Indiana: $3.4 billion
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkes22) May 14, 2021