History of regulated gambling in New Jersey dates back to 1939d when the state legalized pari-mutuel horse race betting. However, the local gambling industry was mostly shaped in 1976, when NJ residents voted in favor of allowing casinos in Atlantic City. Racetracks aside, land-based gambling remains restricted to the city limits to this day.
In total, 12 casinos were built, but the financial crisis and gambling expansion in Pennsylvania and New York had a serious effect on the economic viability of some of the New Jersey gambling venues. Between 2014 and 2016, five casinos were closed. Fortunately, economic conditions eventually improved, and two additional casinos were built.
As the casino revenue dwindled, New Jersey lawmakers began looking for ways to save the failing industry. Initially, these efforts were met with some resistance. In 2011, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed an iGaming bill, stating that it violated the New Jersey Constitution. Two years later, he changed his mind and signed a very similar bill, allowing the local casinos to launch online poker and casino sites.
New Jersey legislators have also tried legalizing sports betting. The first sports betting bill was approved in 2012 after a non-binding referendum. Professional sports leagues, including the NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, and MLB decided to sue New Jersey, arguing that the bill was passed in violation of PASPA. The courts sided with the leagues, and New Jersey sports betting was shut down. The legislators didn’t give up and drafted new legislation, but the professional sports lobby managed to prevail again. Eventually, the Supreme Court repealed PASPA and New Jersey was finally free to implement new sports betting regulations.
New Jersey defines unlawful gambling as “unlicensed risking of something of value upon outcome of contest of chance or future contingent event not under actor’s control, upon agreement that actor will receive something of value in event of a certain outcome.” This definition is broad enough to cover playing on offshore gambling platforms, but the state is more interested in going after the operators than individual players.
Most gambling-related matters are covered by New Jersey Criminal Law, section 2C:37-1 et seq. and 5:5-1 et seq. The minimum gambling age is 18 for bingo, lottery games, and pari-mutuel betting and 21 for casino-style games.
New Jersey Casino Laws
New Jersey has nine commercial casinos, which are all confined to the Atlantic City area. These casinos are: Bally’s Casino, The Borgata, Caesars Casino, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s Casino, Ocean Casino, Resorts Casino, Hard Rock Casino, and Tropicana. Most of these gambling establishments boast at least 2,000 slots, as well as a variety of classic table games, such as blackjack, roulette, and craps.
Atlantic City casinos are allowed to operate multiple online casino sites. As of May 2019, New Jersey residents have access to the following platforms: 888 US, Betfair, Borgata Online, Caesars Casino Online, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s Online Casino, Mohegan Sun Online, Pala Online, PartyCasino, PokerStars NJ Casino, Resorts Online Casino, SugarHouse Casino, Tropicana Online, Unibet, and Virgin Online Casino.
New Jersey Poker Laws
There are six high-profile poker rooms in New Jersey. All of them are located in Atlantic City. The largest two are operated by Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa (85 tables) and Harrah’s Atlantic City (40 tables), while the remaining four are run by Bally’s (20 tables), Tropicana (18 tables), Golden Nugget (10 tables), and Ocean Resort Casino (8 tables). Cash-game action is mostly about Omaha and Hold’em, but the bigger venues also occasionally offer Stud and mixed games. Tournaments are available on a daily basis and tend to stick to the No-Limit Hold’em format.
New Jersey has a regulated online poker market. Local players have access to multiple poker platforms, such as WSOP, 888, PartyPoker, PokerStars, Borgata Poker, PlayMGM, and Pala Poker. The Garden State has a shared liquidity agreement with Delaware and Nevada, which means that local poker enthusiasts are free to test their skills against out-of-state competition.
New Jersey Sports Betting Laws
Before 2018, all betting action in New Jersey was centered around three local racetracks: Meadowlands (East Rutherford), Freehold Raceway (Freehold), and Monmouth Park (Oceanport). Gamblers were also free to bet on horse races at off-track facilities located in Bayonne, Clementon, Egg Harbor, Fords, Hillsborough, and Toms River. Horse racing enthusiasts were also able to place bets online using the 4NJBet platform.
Traditional sports betting was legalized in June 2018, one month after the Supreme Court struck down the federal PASPA ban on this form of gambling. The new regulations permitted both racetracks and Atlantic City casinos to open brick and mortar sportsbooks. As of May 2019, there are nine sportsbooks operating within the borders of New Jersey: Borgata Race & Sports Bar (Borgata, IGT), Resorts Sports Book (Resorts, William Hill), Monmouth Park Sports Book (Monmouth Park, William Hill), William Hill Sportsbook (Ocean Resort, William Hill), FanDuel Sportsbook (Meadowlands, BetFair/FanDuel), The Book (Harrah’s, SG), The Sportsbook (Golden Nugget, SBTech), Wild Wild West Sportsbook (Bally’s, SG), and William Hill Sportsbook at Tropicana (Tropicana, William Hill). In addition, Caesars Casino and Hard Rock Casino are expected to open two additional sportsbooks later this year.
In addition, New Jersey residents have access to 12 mobile betting platforms: DraftKings Sportsbook (Resorts), FanDuel Sportsbook (Meadowlands), William Hill (Golden Nugget), PlaySugarHouse (Monmouth Park), 888 Sportsbook (Caesars), BetStars (Resorts), PlayMGM (Borgata), Resorts Sportsbook (Resorts), Hard Rock Sportsbook (Hard Rock), and PointsBet (Meadowlands). An additional mobile sportsbook is scheduled to be launched by Unibet and Hard Rock Casino later this year.
New Jersey Daily Fantasy Sports Laws
Paid DFS contests are legal in New Jersey. The operators are required to obtain a license issued by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and pay a fee based on annual gross revenue. Consequently, New Jersey residents have unrestricted access to all three major DFS platforms, i.e. FanDuel, DraftKings, and YahooDFS.
New Jersey Lotteries
New Jersey lottery operates nine draw games, which include popular multi-state options, such as Mega Millions and Powerball, as well as Fast Play games, scratchers, and Second Chance products. Tickets have to be purchased from land-based retailers or self-service machines, as the lottery isn’t authorized to sell them online.
New Jersey Bingo Laws
New Jersey allows charity organizations to host bingo games. Bingo is also available commercially at some of the Atlantic City casinos. The largest commercial bingo hall, called Bingo Bonanza, is operated by Golden Nugget. In addition, three of the NJ-based internet casinos – Virgin, Tropicana, and Pala – offer legal bingo options. Unfortunately, only 90-ball games are currently available on those sites.
Top New Jersey Legal Sites
The New Jersey law criminalizes all wagers that aren’t placed in a state-controlled environment. As you’d expect from a state with such a massive gambling industry, the regulations target illegal gambling operators rather than individual players. In fact, New Jersey doesn’t even penalize the act of participating in an unlawful game as a player. This means that New Jersey residents are free to enjoy the action on both offshore sites and state-licensed sites without having to worry about any potential legal consequences.
New Jersey Online Gambling FAQ
What types of gambling are available in New Jersey?
New Jersey is the unquestionable leader when it comes to land-based gambling on the East Coast. Most of the high-profile gambling establishments are located on the Atlantic City boardwalk, but it’s worth remembering that New Jersey also has several pari-mutuel racetracks on the outside. The state allows charitable gambling and has its own lottery. New Jersey was the second state to regulate its intrastate online gambling market, which means that the local gambling enthusiasts are free to get some licensed casino and poker action without having to turn to offshore iGaming sites.
What laws cover online gambling in New Jersey?
Gambling in New Jersey is covered by New Jersey State Statutes, Section 2. The law focuses on shutting down illegal gambling operators and isn’t restrictive when dealing with individual gamblers.
Is real money online gambling legal in New Jersey?
Yes. New Jersey residents are free to join New Jersey-regulated casinos and poker rooms. Gambling on offshore iGaming sites is also perfectly legal, as the state doesn’t criminalize participating in an unlicensed game as a player.
Which offshore gambling sites accept New Jersey residents?
New Jersey-based gambling enthusiasts aren’t restricted from signing up at most major offshore gambling sites. This obviously includes Bovada.
What are the most popular banking options supported by New Jersey-facing sites?
Local sites offer more banking options than offshore operators, but if you want a “one size fits all” solution, a Visa or MasterCard credit card is going to be the perfect choice for both types of sites. Withdrawals are slightly more complicated, but generally speaking most sites will allow you to cash out via a wire transfer while simultaneously giving you access to an additional operator-specific method or two.
Does New Jersey offer any intrastate online gambling?
Yes, New Jersey offers numerous casinos and poker sites, which are operated by Atlantic Cities casinos working in cooperation with major international iGaming software developers.
Is it likely for New Jersey to regulate online gambling?
New Jersey already has a regulated intrastate iGaming market. Many local casinos have teamed up with international online gambling industry giants to launch successful online poker rooms and casino sites.
New Jersey Gambling Resources
New Jersey Legislature: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/
City of Atlantic City: http://www.cityofatlanticcity.org/
List of Casinos in New Jersey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_casinos_in_New_Jersey