How In-State Sports Betting Failed in New Jersey

How In-State Sports Betting Failed in New Jersey

Patrick Moore, Staff Writer

On November 2, 2021, voters in the state of New Jersey headed to the polls. While most people at the polls were there for the closely contested Governor’s race, they also voted on two important referenda on expanding “In-State Sports Betting” in New Jersey. As of November 8, 2021, The New York Times reported that the question of “Permit Betting on New Jersey Collegiate Teams and Sporting Events,” has failed with 57% of New Jersey voters voting against expanding In-State Sports Betting compared to the 43% that voted to expand. With the expansion of In-State Sports Betting failing in New Jersey, it is imperative to look at both sides of the issue and why it failed. 


Heading into the 2021 election, the expansion of In-State Sports Betting had potential to succeed. Currently, New Jersey residents pay more taxes over their lifetimes than residents of any other state in the country. The idea that tax revenue can be generated from Sports Gambling is attractive to some residents of New Jersey, as by having a larger corporate tax base, residents can afford to pay less in property and other local taxes. Furthermore, Jane Bokunewicz, the director of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, argued that “[t]he anticipated increase in sports wagering from lifting the ban would benefit the state through increased tax revenue.” After a court ruling in 2018, the legalization of general sports betting in New Jersey was incredibly successful, with Brent Johnson expressing that “[t]he state has surpassed Nevada in sports wagering and last month became the first state to take in more than a $1 billion in sports bets in a single month.” But the economic justifications were not enough for New Jersey voters. 


The Opposition  

Opponents of general sports betting argue that it does not protect citizens from becoming addicted and losing money. For example, general sports betting can lead to gambling addiction and lead to major financial loses according to Triple Crown Casinos. Tensions between sports gamblers and casino owners can rise, which leads to some casino owners benefiting from Sports Gambling while the state does not reap the economic benefits. 

But a crucial reason for the lack of support for In-State Sports Betting was voter apathy. For example, Dan Cassino, the executive director of the FDU polling website, found that before the election “There hasn’t been much publicity around this ballot question, and a lot of people are going to miss it, or skip it.” He predicted an “undervote” to occur, meaning that voters will vote for the gubernatorial candidate and leave the rest of the ballot blank, such as the state referendum questions. This “undervote” occurred on November 2 in New Jersey, as just over two million voters voted in the “Permit Betting on New Jersey Collegiate Teams and Sporting Events” question while over two and a half million voters participated in the more publicized gubernatorial election. 

Looking Forward

Because of a serious undervote in New Jersey, In-State Sports Betting failed, but betting on non-New Jersey teams is still very popular and is currently generating revenue for the state. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how other neighboring states, such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, will approach In-State Sports Betting. 

Lastly, as a strong fan of Rutgers football, I would definitely bet on the Rutgers football team to cover the spread every week if I were over the age of 18 and did not lived out of state. But I satisfy neither of these requirements so I will not lose any money on Rutgers football for now! 


Photo in Creative Commons:

Photographer: June 18, 2019 




Davison, Laura. “New Jersey Residents Will Pay Most in Taxes Over a Lifetime.”, Bloomberg, 17 May 2021,

“FDU Poll Finds College Sports Gambling Narrowly Losing 39-41%.” New Jersey Globe, 29 Oct. 2021, 

“New Jersey Election Results.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 2 Nov. 2021,®ion=TOP_BANNER&context=election_recirc

“New Jersey Public Question 1, Sports Betting on State College Athletics Amendment (2021).” Ballotpedia,,_Sports_Betting_on_State_College_Athletics_Amendment_(2021). 

“Should You Bet on Sports? the Pros and Cons of Sports Betting.” Triple Crown Casinos, 27 Oct. 2021,