Pickleball Picks Up Steam As A Legal Sports Betting Market – But Not In New Jersey

Written By David Danzis on September 7, 2023
ball and paddles on pickleball court

Pickleball is taking over neighborhoods all over the country and the action is not limited to the court. Last month, 10 states approved legal sports betting on Professional Pickleball Association matches with the FanDuel Sportsbook app.

New Jersey, one of the largest legal sports gambling markets in the US, was not among them.

The omission from the list of pro pickleball betting jurisdictions is somewhat surprising. For one, NJ sports betting allows legal gambling on a wide variety of events and contests. Second, NJ’s regulatory approval lends a level of credibility that few other states can match. Lastly, NJ is pickleball-friendly (160+ courts statewide) and its popularity is growing, according to a survey.

So, why is it that New Jersey is not on the list of pickleball betting states?

Getting to the bottom of the pickleball betting mystery

It does not appear as though the PPA, FanDuel or any associating entity petitioned NJ gambling regulators to approve betting on the sport.

PlayNJ reached out to gambling regulators in NJ in late August asking about the approval process for sports contests and events “in light of the pickleball news.” Here is part of the response PlayNJ received from the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Office of the Attorney General:

“Please note that New Jersey is not included in the states currently accepting pickleball wagers at this time. While we cannot speculate on the outcome of hypothetical submissions, DGE regulations outline the process for evaluating requests.”

The response went on to state that, as part of the process to be included on the state’s approved sports betting list, leagues or sportsbook operators must submit a formal request.

How NJ sports betting approves new sports to bet on

The DGE publishes submitted petitions and requests two times per month on its website. The agency also posts the DGE director’s responses and/or actions relevant to those requests.

A search of recently submitted petitions and director’s responses failed to turn up any sign that PPA or FanDuel Sportsbook NJ (the largest online sportsbook in the state) attempted to gain permission in NJ.

The process of approval is rather straightforward. The DGE requires a request to identify two things:

  • The name of the sport’s governing body in charge of administering the event or wager.
  • A description of the policies and procedures regarding the event or wager’s integrity.

Future of pickleball betting in NJ

In its email response to PlayNJ, the DGE and the Office of the Attorney General also added:

“DGE evaluates all requests to determine if wagering would be, among other things,’ contrary to the public policies of the State.’ Each event, and its associated integrity policy and procedure, is reviewed in its totality.”

Reading between the lines here, it does not sound like it would be a tough ask to get professional pickleball on the approved list.

For now, NJ sports gamblers will just have to be content with NFL and college football.

Bummer.

Photo by PlayNJ
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David Danzis

David Danzis is the lead writer for PlayNJ. He is a New Jersey native and honors graduate of Rutgers University. As a newspaper reporter for the New Jersey Herald and Press of Atlantic City, David earned statewide awards for his coverage of politics, government, education, sports, and business. Today, he is PlayNJ’s Atlantic City “insider” and gaming industry expert on casinos, sports betting, and online gambling. David lives in Atlantic County, NJ with his wife and two children.

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