New Jersey lawmakers have approved an array of gaming bills, including the one which calls for a constitutional amendment on in-state college betting. Other significant changes include financial relief for Atlantic City casinos in the wake of pandemic-led declines.

On Thursday, the state’s Senate passed, SCR 133, by a 36-1 vote majority. The bill would empower voters to decide the fate of in-state college sports betting in the Nov. 2021 general election.

Currently, the Garden State bans betting on games involving New Jersey college teams, or games played in New Jersey involving teams from other states. SCR 133 will put both the matters to the vote by the end of this year.

Tax Relief for Casinos

The New Jersey Legislature scheduled Thursday to vote on four gambling bills. Another most crucial bill would provide relief to the state’s casinos that were forced to close more than three months last year due to the COVID-19. Only recently the casinos were allowed to open with 100% capacity.

A bill would exempt the casinos from taxation the first $90 million of promos, that the operators give to gamblers for two years. The same measure would also extend the casinos some relief from their 8% taxes to the state if their 2021 in-person gambling revenue dips below the monthly revenue for the comparable month in the period from Mar. 2019 through Feb. 2020.

The coronavirus-led shutdowns, and the reluctance of many gamblers to go to in-person facilities last year, knocked 80% off the Atlantic City casinos gross operating for last year.

Other Bills

Another bill would allow charitable, religious, and other groups to conduct bingo or raffles remotely, and the last measure would call for a referendum to allow such entities to use the money of those games to support themselves. Currently, only senior citizens and veterans may use the proceeds from those games to support their groups.

While casino tax relief bill has been sent to the governor’s desk, the sports betting expansion and the bingo and raffle bills have to receive concurrence from the Assembly.

New Jersey In-State College Months Away?

New Jersey – the national leader of sports betting – does not allow betting on college sports or athletic events taking place in the state. The Garden State also bans wagering on an athletic event in which a New Jersey college team participates.

If voters approve the measure later this year, the state lawmakers will be able to approve betting on any college sport.

Earlier this month, the New Jersey Assembly Tourism, Gaming and Arts Committee approved a resolution to amend the state constitution to allow for sports betting on all in-state college events and games including in-state college teams.

While speaking to a media entity, Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo had said, “From a competitive edge, we should have what other states have in regards to collegiate betting.”

New Jersey is the largest sports betting in the United States. Recently, the Garden State reported $747 million in its April sports betting handle report.

New Jersey has just eclipsed Nevada in overall handle in the post-PASPA era. 

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