Legal sports betting has arrived at casinos and racetracks across New Jersey.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed the state’s sports betting bill into law on June 11, 2018. Authorized locations in the Garden State began taking legal sports bets on June 12, 2018.
The state was trying to make it happen since 2011 when it first passed a bill seeking to legalize sports betting.
Professional and amateur sports leagues across the country took the state to court and were successful in having that new law struck down. However, New Jersey tried again in 2014.
State legislators passed a second bill aimed at legalizing sports betting, and the leagues filed another lawsuit. The courts struck down the law for the second time. However, after a series of failed appeals, New Jersey was successful in getting the US Supreme Court to hear its case in December 2017.
That NJ sports betting decision came down on May 14, 2018, with SCOTUS declaring that PASPA was unconstitutional. The ruling cleared the way for states to regulate and offer sports betting if they choose.
New Jersey, of course, did opt to authorize sports betting within its borders. Though Delaware was the first state to begin accepting legal sports bets in the wake of the SCOTUS decision, New Jersey came in just a week behind.
Murphy vs NCAA: The NJ sports betting SCOTUS case
In December 2017, New Jersey took its case against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to the Supreme Court. PASPA was the federal law that made sports betting illegal everywhere except Nevada. Certain parlay bets in Delaware and game square wagering in Montana were also exempt. However, single-game wagering happened only in Nevada thanks to PASPA.
The state presented some relatively strong arguments suggesting the ban on sports betting was an unconstitutional one. In fact, following oral arguments, most made New Jersey the favorite to win, which it did when SCOTUS ruled that PASPA is unconstitutional on May 14, 2018.
Legal sports betting is now available to anyone inside New Jersey state lines. But exactly what that means for the state requires a bit more of an in-depth look.
To that end, here’s an NJ sports betting FAQ with answers to the most common questions surrounding the issue to put you ahead of the curve:
Where can you legally bet on sports in New Jersey?
The quick answer is at any New Jersey racetrack or Atlantic City casino that has opened a sportsbook. And while that quick answer still holds true, these days gambling in New Jersey happens outside of racetracks and casinos as well.
New Jersey has had legal and regulated online gambling since November 2013. The state’s first attempts to legalize sports betting expected it to happen at racetracks and casinos only. However, in this modern era of NJ online gambling, gamblers can place bets with their favorite sportsbooks online as well.
In fact, several players in the New Jersey online gambling business set up the framework to offer sports betting prior to the Supreme Court’s decision.
So, the long answer to the question of where you are able to legally bet on sports in New Jersey is at online sportsbooks as well as New Jersey racetracks and AC casinos that house live sportsbooks of their own. One thing is for sure, whether it’s online or off, to bet on sports in New Jersey, the gambler does have to be physically located in New Jersey.
What kind of bets can be made?
Like sportsbooks in Nevada, New Jersey sportsbooks, online and off, offer a variety of bets that fall under the category of single-game wagering. Basically, that means gamblers can pick the winner of a specific sporting event and bet on it.
However, there are a variety of ways gamblers can bet on the games.
Money line bets
Money line bets are the most simple and common single-game wagers. You select a game, pick a team to win that game, and if they come through, you get paid based on the money line odds.
The money line is basically a representation of the odds on a particular team to win. The money line shows you how much you need to bet to win $100 on the favorite and how much you can win betting $100 on the underdog.
For favorites, a money line is a negative number. The money line on the New Jersey Devils to beat the New York Rangers might be -110. That would mean you would have to bet $110 to win $100 plus your initial $110 bet back.
For underdogs, a money line is a positive number. The money line on the New York Rangers to beat the New Jersey Devils might be +150. That would mean betting $100 on the Rangers would win you $150 plus your initial $100 bet back if the Rangers win.
Point spread bets
Point spreads are set by sportsbooks and reflect how many points a favorite in any particular game is expected to win by. Point spread bets are simply wagers on the favorite to win by that set amount of points or not.
The favorite must win by more points than the spread for bets on that favorite to pay. Bets on the underdog pay when it beats the favorite or loses by fewer points than the spread.
Let’s say the point spread on New York Jets versus New York Giants game is set at 4.5 points. The Giants are the favorite, so they would need to win by more than 4.5 points to cover. If the score ended up Giants 17 Jets 10, the Giants would cover, having won by more than the 4.5 point spread. All bets on the Giants to cover would pay.
However, if the game ended up Giants 17 Jets 16, the Giants would have failed to cover. Only bets on the Jets would pay.
The favorite has to cover the point spread to win. If they don’t cover, bets on the underdog pay. If the favorite wins by the point spread exactly, it is considered a push and both sides get their bet back.
The over/under is a relatively simple bet on how many total points will be scored in a particular game. Like point spreads, a line is set on the total points that will be scored in a game. Gamblers then bet on whether the actual total will be over or under that particular line.
The over/under on the New York Giants versus the New York Jets might be 50. If the final score of the game turned out to be Giants 25 Jets 24, the total score would be 49 and all bets on the under would pay. If the final score ended up Giants 31 Jets 24, the total score would be 55 and all bets on the over would pay.
Parlay bets involve combining more than one bet. All bets in a parlay must win for the parlay to pay, making it more of a long shot with huge odds and big paydays when they do come through.
Nothing comes easy in parlay betting, however. In fact, the reason parlays come with huge payouts is because picking multiple winners is very hard to do.
These are often considered the fun bets. Proposition bets, or props, are often exotic bets with little or no impact on the actual outcome of a game.
Props are essentially gamblers betting on whether or not something will happen. Will the coin toss before the start of the game come up heads or tails? Will the Giants score first against the Jets? Will Eli Manning throw for more than 2 touchdown passes?
Sportsbooks often offer props on all kinds of things in big games with large audiences such as the Super Bowl.
Futures bets are long-term wagers that may take place over an entire season. Common futures bets include betting on a team to win a division title, championship, or just to make the playoffs. The best odds are offered on these bets before the start of the season.
Sports are unpredictable, particularly over the length of an entire season. As a result, futures bets pay big odds.
Are sportsbooks and sports bettors speaking another language?
No, sportsbooks and sports bettors are not speaking another language. It’s just that the world of sports betting involves a lot of jargon. In other words, they’ve got words for all kinds of things you may not have heard of before.
Here’s a quick glossary of some common sports betting terms that may help you understand it all a little better:
An action is simply another word for a bet or a wager. If you’ve got action on a game, you’ve got a bet on it. The amount of action is equal to the amount bet.
A beard, or runner, is someone placing bets for another person. Professional gamblers may use beards to disguise who they are betting on and how much.
Book is a shorter term used for sportsbook or bookmaker.
A bookie is a person that takes bets. Generally, bookies operate in the black market as opposed to legal and regulated sportsbooks in casinos. However, someone taking your bet at a legal sportsbook could also be referred to as a bookie.
Lines are subject to fluctuate before a game begins. This movement is based on various information including how much money is being bet on each side. The closing line is the final betting line set before the game begins.
When a team wins by more points than they are favored by in the point spread, they cover the spread.
A favorite is the team the sportsbook believes is most likely to win. Favorites give away points in the point spread and have shorter odds on the money line. A big favorite is often referred to as a lock, but there are no sure things.
The term handle refers to the total amount of money a sportsbook takes in. This should not be confused with the revenue a sportsbook pulls in, which is often only a small percentage of its handle. Handle is all the money bet on either side of all bets.
A game is referred to as a pick ’em when no favorite emerges. The point spread on a pick ’em would be zero, although it’s very rare to see.
Sharps are winning professional sports bettors who always seems to be on the right side of things. They often use inside information to bet wisely or more sharply than the average punter.
A square is the opposite of a sharp. These are more casual and less serious gamblers. They follow public sentiment, let emotions affect their wagering and unlike sharps, they bet with their heart instead of their head.
A tout is an individual or organization giving away or selling picks on various games. Most claim to be big winners, but if that were true, why would they want to give away their secrets?
Underdogs are the teams not expected to win. They represent the other side of the favorites coin. These teams get points in the spread and decent odds on the money line. If the team stands almost no chance of winning, it is referred to as a longshot.
Vigorish is the term used to describe the commission a sportsbook takes in on bets. This is where they get revenue. Vigorish is often called the vig or the juice.