NJ targets harsh penalties for prohibited sports bets

8 March 2019

A bill from New Jersey Assemblymember Ralph Caputo would formalise the penalties imposed on licensees that offer odds on sporting events for which betting is prohibited, with the guilty parties facing fines and automatic licence suspensions.

Having been introduced at the end of February and assigned to the Assembly Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee, it now progresses to a second reading in the chamber. The bill was approved by the committee, with six members voting in favour, one abstaining and no votes against.

The bill aims to have licensed operators found to have taken bets on prohibited events refund all amounts wagered, as well as paying a fine of between $20,000 (£15,300/€17,800) and $10,000. They will also have their sports betting licence suspended for a period of up to 10 days.

New Jersey’s sports betting regulations currently define a “prohibited sports event” as any collegiate sport or athletic contest taking place within the state, or any involving a New Jersey college team, regardless of where it takes place. However, offering markets on tournaments or leagues in which a New Jersey college team permits is not banned, nor is betting on collegiate sports taking place outside state borders banned.

Betting on all high school sports events, electronic sports and competitive video gaming (esports) is also banned under current state law.

This penalty framework would be brought into force for both the Division of Gaming Enforcement and New Jersey Racing Commission. Fines imposed by the DGE would be paid into the state Casino Control Fund, while those levied by the Racing Commission will go to the New Jersey General Fund.