NJ Bill Looks to Allow Betting on State Schools

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:

A bill in New Jersey looks to expand sports betting further to allow for betting on state universities such as Rutgers and Seton Hall.  Rutgers, in particular, has enjoyed a successful basketball season over the past two years.

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The current law prohibits betting on in-state schools and games that feature them.  That measure passed the Senate on Thursday.

The vote was 36-1, with conservative Republican Michael Doherty of Warren County the lone “no” vote.  Resolution co-sponsor Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, told NJ Online Gambling that the state Assembly would put the measure up for a vote “before the end of June.”

Voters in the state would make the final decision on November 2 with the ballot question reading:

“Currently, the State Constitution prohibits wagering on college sport or athletic events taking place in New Jersey. It also prohibits wagering on an event in which a New Jersey college team participates. This amendment would allow the 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. Such wagering would be permitted only through casinos and current or former horse racetracks.“

From NJ Online Gambling:

That timing is important for several reasons. The technical review for ballot questions and the need to print ballots well in advance of the Nov. 2 elections means that lawmakers say the legislature needs to pass the resolutions by mid-year. Also, the legislature traditionally takes the months of July and August off completely, adding to the urgency.

It is not immediately clear what type of resistance, if any, such a referendum would be up against. While sports betting in general is now widely accepted, there is some question as to how wagering impacts the integrity of college sports.

Should the referendum pass, those in New Jersey might have the opportunity to place bets on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Bowl game (wishful thinking perhaps).

A series of other bills in the state look to provide pandemic assistance to casinos.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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