Poll: N.J. College Sports Betting Changes Gaining Support Ahead Of Election Day

With a little over a month until Election Day, a new poll shows growing support for expanding New Jersey’s sports betting law to allow legal wagers on in-state colleges and events.

Stockton University’s Polling Institute found 40% of respondents support a constitutional amendment on November’s ballot to allow sports gambling on N.J. colleges and events. Two months ago, just 25% of N.J. voters were in favor of the idea.

However, a plurality of potential voters opposed the change in both polls. The percentage of respondents opposing the amendment dropped from 49% in July to 45% in the most recent poll.

The proposed amendment would permit legal sports wagers on N.J. schools, such as Rutgers, Seton Hall, or Princeton, and collegiate events or tournaments held in the state.

Both actions are currently prohibited.

New Jersey is the largest legal sports betting market in the U.S.

Sports betting advocates still have work to do

Stockton’s poll supports the analysis of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s results in the summer. At the time, researchers suggested voters’ unfamiliarity and uncertainty presented challenges to the proposal’s success.

In July, 26% were either undecided or unwilling to answer. Now, 14% are undecided, and only 1% declined to answer.

The Stockton poll surveyed 552 people between September 17-25.

March Madness is coming to The Rock

N.J. lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a resolution to place the constitutional amendment on November’s ballot.

Officials want the state’s gambling law changed before the 2025 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament arrives at Newark’s Prudential Center. As it currently stands, N.J. sportsbooks would be unable to take March Madness bets on any of the games at The Rock, regardless of the teams participating.

“Events and tournaments such as March Madness are highly anticipated by sports bettors all over the country,” N.J. Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey said in a joint statement. “With a majority vote, we will be able to give the people in New Jersey the opportunity to place wagers on our collegiate teams and continue to enjoy the sporting events in our state.”

College athletes will soon be making more money than coaches

In-state collegiate gambling was purposely excluded when N.J. launched legal sports betting in 2018.

Some lawmakers expressed concern over potential issues, such as point shaving or outside economic influences on college athletes. Officials moved ahead without in-state college betting in order to get N.J. sportsbooks up and running as quickly as possible.

But, since college athletes can now profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL), the point is somewhat moot.

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About the Author

David Danzis

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.