The Evolution of Gambling Laws in New Jersey

Today, Atlantic City, New Jersey, stands as one of the leading gambling destinations in the United States. From its humble origins before legalizing gambling to being the front-runner for online casinos, the story of New Jersey's gambling laws and changes is fascinating. And this article highlights the best of times in the future for New Jersey Gambling.

The Gambling Ban

Some records suggest that some sort of organized gambling occurred in New Jersey before the advent of the United States in 1776. In the 1770's New Jersey was one of many states to use lotteries to finance the war effort, including the American revolutionary war. The lotteries were so successful that legendary universities like Princeton and Rutgers got funding through lotteries. However, come 1844; New Jersey banned lotteries.

Officially from 1894 to 1939, New Jersey upheld the gambling ban. However, many pockets and institutions still carry out gambling operations. Many fundraising events during this period offered Bingo.

The Freehold Raceway

New Jersey also is one of the earliest states to participate in legalized horse racing. The Freehold Raceway opened in 1830, making it the oldest racetrack in America. And throughout the decades, horse racing was added to the gambling menu. However, come 1894, gambling in the Garden State became officially outlawed. It wouldn't be until 1939 that horse racing gambling would become legal again.

The Modern-Day Gambling Revolution

New Jersey, in 1974, sought to lift the gambling ban, but it proved to be unsuccessful. However, after some modifications, in 1976, the gambling measure was formally passed. The gambling moratorium was officially lifted with the understanding that legalized casinos would remain in Atlantic City.

The Resorts Casino made history as the first legalized casino in Atlantic City. And throughout the late 1970s to the early eighties, several casinos, including Donald Trump's iconic Trump Plaza and Taj Mahal casinos, opened their doors. However, due to the economic swoon in the 2000s, both of these iconic casinos shuttered.

The New Jersey Casino Control Act officially regulates land-based and online gambling in New Jersey. The New Jersey Casino Control Act is also responsible for casino licenses. And from this comes the Division of Gaming Enforcement, which strictly oversees license regulations. Likewise, the New Jersey Racing Commission specifically monitors horse-related wagers.

The Advent of Online Gambling

In 1992, the American Supreme Court passed the PASPA Act, effectively prohibiting online gambling and sports betting. However, Nevada has always been that exception to the rule. But in later years, the Supreme Court would reverse this ruling. Then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wasted no time adding online gambling and sports betting in 2011. This measure is restricted to New Jersey residents only or those visiting the state.

New Jersey's nine casinos are all eligible to handle and accept professional and collegiate sports, but specific New Jersey college teams are ineligible to gamble. Today, New Jersey's Gaming Division of Enforcement manages online casino licenses. Some of the marquee online casinos in New Jersey include BetMGM and Bet365.