NCAA Ends Ban On Championship Events For States With Sports Betting, NJ Included

While the NCAA still opposes betting on college events, the new policy comes when eight states including New Jersey have legal sports betting.

NCAA championship-level events — including March Madness — could be coming back to New Jersey, despite the organization’s desire to see sports wagering bans across the US.

The NCAA and sports betting

The NCAA Board of Governors rescinded the ban on holding championship events in states with legal sports betting this week.

That ban had always included Nevada and had apparently been imposed on New Jersey as it had fought to legalize sports gambling over the past decade.

But now, with NJ sports betting being legal for nearly a year, the NCAA has changed its policy.

More from a release from the NCAA:

The board also voted to rescind the NCAA Championships Policy Related to Sports Wagering, which prohibited hosting championship competitions in any state that allows single-game sports wagering. The decision follows the board’s temporary action last year to suspend the policy following the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports wagering.

The board also reinforced its support for federal legislative sports wagering standards. While the board stressed that an exemption of college sports in any federal or state legislation is desired, it emphasized that any proposed legislation should protect student-athlete well-being and the integrity of games.

Why the change for NCAA and NJ betting?

The pivot was likely a hat tip to the reality that sports wagering is already taking place in eight states, with that number likely set to double or more in the next year.

Banning events in all of those states would have been logistically difficult.

Betting on college events involving New Jersey teams is illegal under state statute.

So what could be coming to New Jersey?

The events covered by the Board of Governors include any national championships and related regional competitions. That includes the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The Prudential Center in Newark, for example, could once again be in the mix for NCAA tourney games.

It might be sometime before that can happen, however, since the schedule for championship events is planned well in advance.

For instance, locations for first and second rounds as well as regional games in the NCAA tournament are set up through 2022. And the Final Four sites are set through 2026.

Beyond that, any number of championship events in college sports, from wrestling to ice hockey and beyond, are up for grabs for New Jersey.

NJ Betting On NFL Combine Gets Yanked After Initial Approval From Regulators

New Jersey sportsbook operators were initially told that they could take bets related to the NFL Combine. But state regulators told them to pull the action Friday.

New Jersey sportsbook operators were initially told that they could take bets related to this week’s NFL Souting Combine.

That was before they were then told by state regulators that they had to pull them today, causing some confusion for bettors and sportsbooks alike.

NFL Combine betting goes away quickly

Online and retail sportsbook operators had been offering wagers on the event, which is focused on rookies entering the pro football league, for much of the week.

But they took them down on Friday and refunded all bets, leading to some irate bettors in the state.

NJGamblingSites is aware that at least DraftKings Sportsbook and PointsBet NJ had been taking bets on the Combine.

NJ regulators on betting

The following was sent to operators by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement.

The Division has determined that wagering on the NFL Combine will not be permitted at this time. Please immediately remove all wagers from your board and void any pending bets. Please confirm to the Division upon completion.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.

NJGS has reached out to the DGE for further comment.

PointsBet US CEO Johnny Aitken offered the following statement to NJGS:

“PointsBet was notified that NFL Combine Betting was approved on Wednesday and mid morning Friday we received notification from NJDGE that all NJ operators needed to void all Combine Bets and remove these markets. We immediately voided bets and took down markets as per instructions.”

The DGE surprised some by authorizing wagers on the Oscars. For a short time, sportsbooks had to pull their offers on the awards show, but they were eventually allowed to book the event.

Nevada — the only state with legal sports betting before 2018 — never booked this event. Some offshore sportsbooks do take wagers on the Combine.

So why did the NFL Combine betting go the way of the dodo?

Short of more clarity from the DGE, that’s not altogether clear.

The Combine, going on through the weekend in Indianapolis, is not exactly a sporting event per se (and of course, neither is the Oscars).

There are plenty of measurable outcomes that come from the Combine as players are tested by NFL teams, such as (among others):

  • The 40-yard dash
  • Vertical jump
  • Bench press

Those results are tracked by the NFL here, although it’s not clear if these results are quite as “official” as the data that is collected for actual games.

In any event, the DGE must have had some issue with either potential integrity issues related to the event and betting on it or with the data being able to resolve bets. Just this week, Major League Baseball asked NJ to take Spring Training games off the board.

Of course, the DGE also allowed all sorts of squishy prop bets on the Super Bowl, including what the first touchdown celebration would be, and who the game’s MVP would thank first in their postgame speech.

DraftKings Sportsbook Reveals $2.5 Million Sports Betting National Championship In NJ

DraftKings Sportsbook is quickly upping the stakes for sports betting nationwide, and in New Jersey with the first-ever DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship.

DraftKings Sportsbook is quickly upping the stakes for sports betting nationwide and in New Jersey.

The DraftKings national championship

The NJ sports betting and daily fantasy sports company announced the first-ever DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship. It’s a live sports betting event that takes advantage of the new legal NJ market. And it is the first major US sports betting competition to take place outside of Nevada.

It will take place Jan. 11-13 in Jersey City, NJ. The prize pool of the event will guarantee $2.5 million to residents, with $1 million going to the winner. That weekend is when the NFL divisional playoffs are held.

The top five places are all guaranteed a six-figure payday, and there will be prizes all the way down to 25th.

draftkings sports betting

You do not have to be a resident of New Jersey to enter; you just have to be on-hand in New Jersey for the event in order to take part. (And be 21 years of age.)

How to make the sports betting championship

According to DraftKings, you can qualify by:

  • Playing in DFS qualifiers at DraftKings
  • Buying in directly for $10,000.
  • Winning via social contests and giveaways.

The entry of $10,000 includes $5,000 for your sports betting bankroll to be used in the contest, entry into the contest, access to the weekend’s events, and a hotel room for the DFS qualifiers.

How does the actual contest work?

Think you want to try your skills in New Jersey? DraftKings gave us some details on how its betting contest works.

All betting, of course, will have to be done via the DraftKings Sportsbook app, and all bettors start with a $5,000 bankroll.

You can bet on any sports you want in the contest on Friday and Saturday in January, but you must bet at least $2,000 on the two Sunday NFL games.

It sounds like a pretty wide open contest, whereas the SuperContest in Nevada is based on NFL games over the course of the season. The DraftKings handicapping contest appears to allow a lot more freedom.

How do you win? Have the highest ending bankroll after the last game ends on Sunday.

Hard Rock Atlantic City Will Have A Sportsbook And NJ Online Sports Betting, Top Exec Confirms

After weeks of speculation, Hard Rock Chairman Jim Allen confirms during the opening day ceremonies that a Hard Rock Atlantic City sportsbook and NJ online sports betting are in the cards.

Any questions about whether Hard Rock Atlantic City is going to have New Jersey sports betting were put to bed on Thursday.

At the resort and casino’s grand opening, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen told the media that sports betting would eventually happen.

(For full coverage of the opening of Hard Rock after its transformation from the old Trump Taj Mahal, visit

Hard Rock AC’s plans on sports betting

There has been some question about Hard Rock’s sports betting plans, given its relationship with an NFL franchise. But Allen cleared all that up Thursday.

Here is what he said at a press conference:

I know we have had quite a few questions over the last month or so in regards to our ability to offer a sportsbook and the answer is “yes.” The media is probably aware that we are involved in the frankly now world-famous Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida. We are the host of the 100-year anniversary of the NFL and the 2020 Super Bowl. The events there have exceed even our expectations. But there are some restrictions in our agreement there which we want to comply with in accordance with our relationship with Stephen Ross, the Miami Dolphins and obviously the NFL.

So we will not be able to set the bet, but we certainly are able to partner with other companies, which frankly is most of the models where you partner with say a provider or a platform provider, and that will be our goal for Atlantic City.

Hard Rock AC will have NJ online sports betting, too

Allen also said Hard Rock Atlantic City would be in on the online NJ sports betting business, although we still don’t know how or when.

No. 1 we are certainly going to work within the guidelines of the Department of Gaming Enforcement in the state of New Jersey and while there are a few sports betting windows open at I think Borgata opened, we understand the market is actually more favorable with hand-held device or smartphone if you will.

So nobody has that technology approved yet by the DGE, we are in that process so we’ll be making some announcements in the next 30 or 60 days as far as how we are going to do that.

That means Hard Rock could be up and running by the time football season rolls around. We still don’t know who Hard Rock’s sports betting partner(s) will be, of course.

The Hard Rock online casino went live on Thursday as well. Its NJ online gambling partner is Gaming Innovation Group, which got the green light to go live from state regulators.

Atlantic City Casino Revenue Down Because Of Blizzard, But NJ Gambling Sites Hit New Record

It was the best of times and the worst of times for Atlantic City in January. Land-based casinos had a brutal month, but online casinos hit a new high.

It was the best of times and the worst of times for Atlantic City in January.

New AC casino revenue figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement painted two very different pictures. While land-based casino revenue dropped in AC for the month, NJ gambling sites hit a new high. A blizzard at the start of the month appears to be responsible for the former and might have led to new heights in the latter.

Atlantic City revenue, at a glance

The blizzard took a bite out of revenue in AC for the month. Total gross gaming revenue clocked in at $184.3 million, down from $204.7 million, a 10 percent drop.

For the land-based industry, the numbers were even worse. The $162.4 million in revenue was down from $185.9 million in January of last year. That’s a decrease of more than 12 percent, year over year.

More from the Press of AC in talking with Jim Plousis, chairman of the state Casino Control Commission:

“What a difference a blizzard makes,” Plousis said. “When people are stuck in their homes by more than a foot of snow, and temperatures are dipping into single digits, they don’t come to Atlantic City.”

No game type was immune: Both slots (-$14 million) and table games (-$9.4 million) saw dropoffs with less traffic in town.

Full numbers here.

Winners and losers in AC casinos

Well, no one was really a winner; some land-based casinos just lost less.

  • Tropicana experienced the smallest drop percentage-wise year-over-year, pulling in $22.9 million, a six percent fall-off from last January ($24.3 million).
  • Resorts saw a similar drop, from $11.6 million to $12.4 million.
  • Caesars had the worst month, dropping 23 percent YoY ($21.8 million, down from $28.2 million)
  • Borgata was in the middle of the pack in how much revenue it shed from last year (11 percent). But that translated into nearly $7 million less YoY ($53.6 million, down from $60.5 million) for the AC revenue leader.
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New record for NJ gambling sites

While it was a bad start for the year in AC, it appears that NJ online gambling is going nowhere but up.

On the heels of a year where revenue for online casinos almost hit $250 million, iGaming accounted for nearly $22 million in January. That’s up more than 20 percent from January of last year when iGaming accounted for $18.8 million in revenue.

That’s a new monthly high in the state since online casinos first launched in 2013. It’s just the fourth time in the industry’s history that revenue has eclipsed $21 million.

Golden Nugget, meanwhile, continued to dominate the competition on the online side, with $7.3 million in revenue. That’s the first time any operator has topped $7 million in a single month. It accounts for about one-third of all online gambling revenue in the state.

Borgata was a distant second, nearly $4 million behind.

The NJ online poker segment continued to disappoint, accounting for only about $2 million in a vertical that isn’t growing.

A Pair Of New NJ Gambling Sites On The Way: Ocean Resort, Hard Rock AC

Atlantic City’s newest casinos, Ocean Resort and Hard Rock AC, apply for NJ online gambling licenses ahead of their physical casino launches.

If you thought Atlantic City was done creating new New Jersey gambling sites, you were sadly mistaken.

Two new NJ online casinos

The two land-based casinos that are set to launch this spring or summer — Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock AC — are getting into the online gambling business, too.

The companies behind the two resorts have applied for online gambling licenses. Given they are both likely to get their land-based gaming licenses, getting the online licenses next to those should be a formality.

For those getting up to speed: Ocean Resort is the former Revel, while Hard Rock is the former Trump Taj Mahal.

What will the new NJ online gambling sites look like?

For one of the casinos, we know a lot. For the other, not so much.

Ocean Resort already partnered with online supplier GAN. That’s the company that powers the Betfair online casino that’s already operating in New Jersey. So you can get a pretty good idea of what to expect by heading over there.

For Hard Rock AC’s parent company — Hard Rock International — this is the first foray into regulated online gambling. Hard Rock has stuck to the land-based gaming industry for now. But its entry into the New Jersey market made it almost a necessity to offer online casino as well.

As such, we still don’t know who will power Hard Rock’s online casino. It could be someone already in the market, or maybe a platform provider we haven’t seen yet.

Will either casino have online poker? Right now, the answer is probably not.

But if the owners of Hard Rock AC want to get into iPoker in other states down the road, a launch in NJ would make sense.

Timeline for launch?

That one is up in the air right now, too.

While it seems safe to assume that both will get licenses, regulators probably won’t rush it. New Jersey has created the gold standard for iGaming regulation in the United States, so the Department of Gaming Enforcement is sure to make sure every “t” is crossed in vetting the two companies that will be offering online casinos.

Sometime this year seems like a safe bet, but whether it’s before or after the launch of the physical resorts and casinos is up in the air.

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Will these be among the best NJ online casinos?

It will be a steep climb for the two casinos to match the performance of the many websites that are already in the market and have been for years. Golden Nugget, for example, has a sizable lead over the rest of the established market, to the tune of nearly $2 million more in revenue each month.

But it’s certainly possible these new offerings could quickly reach the upper echelon of the best NJ online casinos in terms of quality.

As Hard Rock’s first entry into iGaming, it will want to get it right. It could have opportunities for legal online casinos in other states down the road.

But the bottom line is we’ll have to wait and see what these new online casinos will look like and how they’ll perform. But if you’re an online gambler, new choices are on the way.