Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Allow Sportsbooks To Accept Bets On In-State College Sports

Written By Grant Lucas on July 1, 2024
Rutgers football team runs onto field for a story on a bill that would allow New Jersey sportsbooks to accept bets on in-state college sports.

As lawmakers went into this past weekend, one lawmaker headed out after filing a bill that would allow bettors in New Jersey to wager on games involving in-state colleges.

Assemblyman Michael Venezia introduced ACR140 on Friday, a bill that would amend the state constitution to allow NJ sportsbooks to accept bets on any college sport, including those that take place in the Garden State or feature a team from an in-state school.

As it stands, New Jersey law prohibits legal sportsbooks to offer odds on games involving in-state programs.

Bill proposal puts in-state NJ sports betting question to voters

Venezia introduced ACR140 on June 28, and the bill was referred to the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee.

If approved, the bill would go in front of voters this November for final approval.

The proposed verbiage of the question posed to voters:

“Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit wagering through casinos and current or former horse racetracks on all college sport or athletic events?”

Previous effort rejected by voters in 2021

This isn’t the first time a New Jersey lawmaker looked to amend the state constitution in order to integrate in-state college sports betting.

In 2021, Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo spearheaded an effort to do just that, with the Assembly passing the proposal by a 70-4 vote and the Senate agreeing to it by a 36-1 tally.

“New Jersey needs to be in the game,” Mazzeo told PlayNJ at the time. “We have to continue to monitor the ethics involved (with betting on college sports), but we can do this and do it right.”

Ultimately, though, the public rejected the bill at the polls, with nearly 57% of voters opposing the amendment.

NJ sportsbooks have incurred fines from in-state betting

Just last year, several notable sportsbooks in New Jersey were fined by the Division of Gaming Enforcement as a result of accepting bets on in-state schools.

For example, in August 2023, the DGE slapped Fox Bet, which was on its way to shutting down operations, with an $80,000 fine for accepting bets on multiple prohibited events.

According to state regulators, the sportsbook allowed wagering on four college basketball games involving New Jersey schools – including Rutgers, Monmouth, Fairleigh Dickinson, and Seton Hall – between 2021 and 2022.

A few weeks later, PointsBet became the target of the DGE, which levied a $25,000 fine for accepting bets on Saint Peter’s basketball.

Photo by Corey Sipkin / AP Photo
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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant now focuses his attention on the growing NJ online gambling and sports betting scene.

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