The bill, which was approved in November by a Senate committee and state lawmakers seeking to expand to allow wagering on New Jersey college teams and teams from other states, was advanced by a state assembly panel on Wednesday.
This advance brings New Jersey closer to amending the state Constitution to allow wagering on the state teams or games played there involving teams from other states.
Senator Paul Sarlo, a northern New Jersey Democrat, said: “A lot of money is being left on the table for college betting, a lot of money. Sports betting has become pretty mainstream now. I’m confident we’ll have this on the ballot in 2021."
The question that would be placed before voters would read as follows: “Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit wagering through casinos and current or former horse racetracks on all college sport or athletic events? Currently, wagering is prohibited on college sport or athletic events that take place in New Jersey. Wagering is also prohibited on an event in which a team from a New Jersey college participates.”
The interpretive statement reads in part: “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,” according to AP News.
Assembly Member Eric Houghtaling, a Monmouth County Democrat, stated that there were concerns in some quarters about including New Jersey collegiate teams in the state’s original sports betting law. “A lot of people had a problem with that being included, so we didn’t put it in the original bill,” he said. “But sports betting in New Jersey has been very successful since then, and it’s time. New Jersey is picking up its level of play in college sports, and this would shine a greater spotlight on it."
Prior to being sent to Governor. Phil Murphy, the bill needs votes in the full Senate and Assembly.
In 2020 New Jersey’s casinos, tracks, and associated online apps handled over $6 billion worth of sports bets.