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New Jersey Casinos & Gambling

New Jersey Regulated Gambling:

Pari-Mutuel Betting 1939

Charity Gaming 1953

Lottery 1970

State Casinos 1976

Online Gambling 2013

Fantasy Contests 2017

Sports Betting 2018

Gambling Age in New Jersey:

Charity Gaming/Sports Betting/Fantasy Sports/Lottery/Pari-Mutuel Betting 18+

Online Gambling/State Casinos 21+

New Jersey Casinos:

Commercial Casinos 9

Racetracks + Sportsbook 3

New Jersey

New Jersey Gambling Overview

Throughout its history, New Jersey gambling laws have been amongst the most liberal in the United States. Still, this is not to suggest that it has not been a bumpy ride.

Billions are lost to illegal gambling in New Jersey each year. However, state enforcement has targeted providers who can receive prison terms of up to 5 years.

Legal forms of gambling include pari-mutuel horse racing, charity gaming, land-based casinos, online gambling, fantasy contests, sports betting, and the New Jersey state lottery.

New Jersey is well-known for its land-based casino gambling in Atlantic City, regulated by The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). This is a resort city laced with nightclubs, immense hotels, casinos, and the famous Boardwalk. Although no Las Vegas, Atlantic City has still built a name for itself as a hotspot for land-based casinos.

State Lottery

The state operates the New Jersey Lottery, which offers draw games, scratch-offs, and ‘second chance’ products. House draws include Pick-3, Pick-4, Jersey Cash 5, Cash Pop, et cetera. The New Jersey lottery is also part of the American multijurisdictional lottery, meaning players can participate in the colossal Powerball and Mega Millions draws.

Tickets can be purchased at participating Quick Draw Retailers or Full-Service Retailers throughout the state. Players can download the NJ Lottery App for Android or iOS to determine if they are holding winning tickets. Purchasing lottery tickets online is not possible.

Charity Gaming

Charity gaming conducted by non-profits is permitted, including raffles, casino nights, and bingos. There are over 12,000 organizations licensed and regulated by the New Jersey Games of Chance Control Commission.

Bingo prizes may not exceed $1,000 per game and $3,000 per bingo event. Casino Nights involve games of chance such as baccarat, blackjack, Texas hold ’em, among many others. Prizes cannot be awarded for real cash but for raffle tickets or merchandise.

Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing

New Jersey has 3 live race tracks and several off-track betting (OTB) facilities. Here, thoroughbred racing, standardbred racing, and pari-mutuel wagering are regulated by the New Jersey Racing Commission.

The Freehold Raceway is a half-mile racetrack believed to be the oldest of its kind in the United States. Informal horse racing has taken place there since the 1830s.

The Commission also supervises simulcast activities. Gamblers from New Jersey may also use their computer or mobile devices to place wagers online. The three live track facilities also offer sportsbooks.

Fantasy Contests

Fantasy contest operators must purchase an annual license and are regulated by the Fantasy Sports Unit (FSU). It is prohibited to provide fantasy sports activities based on high school statistics or give credit to contestants.

There are one dozen fantasy contest providers in New Jersey, including leading operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo Fantasy Sports.

Online Gambling

Online gambling is a big business in New Jersey which almost became the first state to accept $1 billion in sports bets in a single month back in December 2020. These are offered by land-based casinos and 3 pari-mutuel horse racing tracks in partnership with online sportsbook operators such as William Hill, Bet365, DraftKings, and others.

Besides online sports betting, online poker rooms and online casinos (connected to a land-based casino) are also big businesses.

Sports Betting

Gambling on professional and college sports (outside New Jersey) is permitted at one of the 9 New Jersey land-based casinos or 3 live racetracks in the state. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is responsible for regulating sports betting in New Jersey. These same land-based facilities may also offer online sports betting as of August 2018.

Land-Based Facilities

New Jersey has 9 commercial land-based casinos operating in Atlantic City after an amendment to the Constitution. Here visitors can find a selection of table games, slot machines, and sports betting. There are no tribal casinos in New Jersey.

Commercial Casinos Address Website
Resorts Casino Hotel 1133 Boardwalk – Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Ballys Atlantic City 1900 Pacific Ave. – Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Harrahs Resort 777 Harrah’s Blvd. – Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Tropicana Atlantic City 2831 Boardwalk – Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa 1 Borgata Way – Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Caesars Atlantic City 2100 Pacific Ave. – Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Golden Nugget Huron Ave. & Brigantine Blvd. – Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 1000 Boardwalk – Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Ocean Casino Resort 500 Boardwalk – Atlantic City, NJ 08401

New Jersey also has 3 live race tracks where visitors can take advantage of sportsbooks.

Racetrack & Sportsbook Address Website
Freehold Raceway 130 Park Ave. – Freehold, NJ 07728
Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment 1 Racetrack Dr. – East Rutherford, NJ 07073
Monmouth Park Racetrack 175 Oceanport Ave. -Oceanport, NJ 07757

New Jersey Gambling History

Lotteries were first used to finance the Indian and French war and the American Revolution until they were banned in 1844.

In 1894 the New Jersey Legislature banned pari-mutuel gambling, but the antigambling movement didn’t stop there. By 1897, New Jersey voters approved a referendum to ban gambling by amending the Constitution. Although it would remain that way until 1939, enforcement was lax, as evidenced by the availability of slot machines, illegal lotteries, and bookmaking.

Interestingly, non-profit organizations, including churches, openly held bingos. Also, it remained business as usual for the Freehold Raceway until 1939, that racetrack gambling would again become legal.

It wasn’t until 1953 that a voter-approved referendum would lead to the legalization of bingo and raffle charity gaming held by non-profit organizations. Amusement games were again legalized in 1959, just two years after they were declared illegal by a court decision.

The New Jersey state lottery was approved in 1970 when almost 82% of voters approved a referendum. In 1975, New Jersey introduced Pick-3, the first US lottery game allowing players to choose their own numbers.

Casino gambling was approved for Atlantic City by a statewide referendum in 1976. This would lead to the opening of the first state casino, Resorts Atlantic City, in 1978. Two years earlier, a referendum to approve statewide casino gambling was rejected by voters. In 2016, The New Jersey Casino Expansion Amendment proposed allowing land-based casinos outside Atlantic City but was solidly rejected.

Democrat Raymond Lesniak passed a Bill in January 2011 (subsequently vetoed) to allow New Jersey online gambling provided that the servers are located in Atlantic City.

In 2013, New Jersey legalized online gambling within the state after being signed into law by Chris Christie.

It wasn’t until January 2012 that legislation was signed into law by then-Gov Chris Christie to legalize sports betting. It was first approved in a statewide New Jersey referendum by a wide margin of 2-to-1. Unfortunately, this led to lawsuits from sports leagues and other interests that delayed the implementation.

Fast forward to 2018, when New Jersey challenged and won a legal case that challenged the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). This Act had effectively given Nevada a sports betting monopoly. New Jersey Bill 4111 was signed into law on June 11, 2018, by Gov Phil Murphy, finally allowing regulated sports betting provided by live racetracks and casinos.

New Jersey Gambling FAQ

Is pari-mutuel betting legal in New Jersey?

Pari-mutuel wagering in New Jersey is permitted at the state’s three live racetracks, OTB facilities, and online/mobile.

Does New Jersey have a state lottery?

Yes, New Jersey has a state lottery where buyers can purchase draw tickets, scratch-offs, et cetera at authorized land-based retailers.

Is online gambling legal in New Jersey?

Yes, online gambling is permitted in New Jersey and includes casinos, poker rooms, and sports betting.

Can I play at a land-based casino in New Jersey?

Yes, this is only legal in Atlantic City through an amendment of the Constitution at one of the 9 land-based casinos.

Are fantasy contests legal in New Jersey?

Yes, New Jersey fantasy sports contests are permitted on professional and college-level games only.

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