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Why is New Jersey So Big for Gambling: 3 Historic Reasons

Gambling in New Jersey is a major industry, and this is not something new. The state has offered extensive, legal gambling services for decades, and is at the forefront of adopting new technologies to support this pastime.

So what makes NJ and gambling such a good match? Let’s dive into the history of its obsession with games of chance to find out.

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Gambling goes back a long way in NJ

Prior to the 20th century, few states were as accepting of gambling as New Jersey, and the authorities were even actively engaged in running lotteries as a means of raising funds to pay for everything from building projects to the revolutionary war effort.

By the mid-19th century, bans on lotteries were imposed, and eventually in 1897 there was an outright outlawing of all gambling activities, backed by a public referendum.

In spite of this, minimal enforcement of these laws meant that gambling continued behind closed doors, and by 1939 there was legal betting at race tracks, followed by wider legalization of amusements in the 1950s.

The 1970s was a breakout era for legal gambling, with casinos given the green light in Atlantic City to help revive the ailing urban area. This set the stage for the modern era of New Jersey’s gambling scene, which in turn inspired other states to follow suit.

New Jersey embraced online gambling early on

Today, gambling online in New Jersey is well established, and generates billions for the public coffers each year.

This was brought about by the state’s decision to legalize online casinos back in 2013, soon after a change to federal law made this an option across the country.

To get in on the action as soon as possible, NJ legislators gave online gambling licensing opportunities to land-based casino operators, ensuring that there was no chance of the bricks and mortar casinos of Atlantic City losing out because of a rise in web-based betting.

Once again, because New Jersey had a historic link to gambling, it made sense for it to become an early adopter of online casinos, and this paved the path for regulatory changes in other parts of the country in the interim.

Sports betting was also legalized as soon as possible

One of the more recent steps that New Jersey has taken is to provide legal sports betting in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to allow this in 2018.

As you’d expect, offering residents and visitors the option to bet on hugely popular sporting events, as well as more obscure matches and games, allowed yet more money to flow into this industry. Wagering topped $1.3 billion in October of 2021, and new records are sure to be set in the future as interest in this activity increases.

While land-based sports betting is a possibility, it is the online sector that generates the most interest. The convenience of being able to bet from a modern smartphone, and even place wagers while games are in-progress, gives online services the edge over their traditional counterparts.

The future looks bright

As you can see, New Jersey’s history is intertwined with gambling in various ways, and more importantly its economic future is sure to be positive thanks to the rise and rise of this industry.

The taxes taken from casinos and sports betting are paying for all sorts of public projects, while the thousands of jobs created in-state are keeping people employed in huge numbers.

While there are legitimate concerns around gambling, the positives clearly outweigh the negatives in New Jersey, and it sets an example to other states as a result.

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