Sponsor: ‘Timing Is Right’ For In-State College NJ Sports Betting

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NJ sports betting

A Garden State lawmaker believes “the timing is right” for the NJ sports betting menu to include in-state college teams. 

Assemblyman Michael Venezia explained to LSR Tuesday why he decided to introduce constitutional amendment ACR140

Three years ago, 57% voted against adding in-state college teams to the NJ sports betting menu. 

“I think a lot has changed since it was voted down in 2021,” Venezia told LSR. “Especially now with the NIL deals that college athletes are able to get. I think that kind of has changed the landscape of things. If you go on the app right now, you can bet on a soccer game in Finland. But you’re not able to bet on a Rutgers versus Ohio State football game. And also, with the potential for increased revenue, I think, kind of put into play that the timing is right for this.” 

NJ sports betting amendment timeline

The amendment would have to get through the legislature and then a ballot referendum in November 2025.

If so, the Garden State would gain the ability to wager on in-state college teams in 2026 at the earliest. 

“I think the main concern is that the voters knocked it down in 2021, but it goes to the voters again. So the voters will get another chance to either support it or go against it. If this goes through the legislature, then it would go to another referendum,” Venezia said. 

NJ options for in-state college wagers

As of now, Garden State bettors have to go to a neighboring state, the illegal offshore market or their local bookie to place wagers on games involving Rutgers University and Seton Hall University.

The Scarlet Knights men’s basketball roster next season includes a pair of players projected to go in the 2025 NBA Draft

“I think you explain to the public about the potential revenue increase that you would get,” Venezia said. “I think if you sell it to the public that if somebody wants to place a bet or a wager on a New Jersey college sports game, they will just do it illegally. And if we do it properly, it would be regulated and also the increase for revenue.

“Also, that other states are becoming major players in the sports betting market. So I think New Jersey needs to make sure we stay competitive in anyway possible.” 

NJ sports betting ban on player props?

In April, NJ State Sen. Kristin Corrado introduced a bill that would prohibit NCAA wagering on student-athlete player props. 

NCAA president Charlie Baker has called for a nationwide ban on the wager type. That is due to concerns surrounding harassment and an increasing number of student-athletes betting on themselves. 

“I would support that as well,” Venezia said. “I think Charlie Baker is trying to ban it nationally. And I would be ok with that if we don’t allow that.”

NJ sports betting history on colleges

In March 2022, BetMGM was docked $25,000 for taking less than $100 worth of bets on prohibited New Jersey college basketball games.

NJ bettors missed out on betting some local Cinderella March Madness stories including Princeton University in 2023 and St. Peter’s University in 2022.

That could change. 

“If you asked me 10 years ago how these professional leagues would embrace all these sports betting companies, I would’ve told you you’re crazy,” Venezia said. “But if you watch a football game or basketball game, it’s everywhere. All you see is sports betting ads. So I think education to the public on it to make sure that we’re monitoring the addiction of it but also it’s up to the person to make that decision themselves.” 

Photo by Associated Press