With the upcoming MAAC Men's and Women's College Basketball Championships returning to historic Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City from March 8-13, you might be wondering what happened to the state’s college sports betting resolutions that were proposed late last year.
Senate Resolution No. 133, introduced on Oct. 19 and sponsored by District 36 State Sen. Paul A. Sarlo (D-Bergen, Passaic) was approved by an 11-0 vote on Nov. 9 as part of the Senate’s Budget and Appropriations meeting.
The amendment would permit wagering through casinos and current/former horse racetracks on a college sport or athletic event that takes place in New Jersey as a tournament, playoff, championship or other postseason competition.
It would also permit sports betting even if a New Jersey college team participates in such an event.
The proposal had come after October’s NCAA site announcement that the Prudential Center — “The Rock” — in Newark will host the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament East Regional for the first time since 2011. That year No. 4 Kentucky upended No. 2 North Carolina, 76-69, to advance to the Final Four, losing to eventual champion Connecticut, 56-55, in the National Semifinals.
A concurrent resolution — ACR 200 — sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (District 11, Monmouth), Assemblywoman Joann Downey (District 11, Monmouth) and Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer (District 12, Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean), was introduced in the state Assembly on Nov. 19 and was referred to the Tourism, Gaming and the Arts Committee.
Ironically, the four-month anniversary of that referral will take place during the second round of this year’s NCAA Tournament and no Assembly action on the resolution has taken place to date.
What’s Required to Make November Ballot?
A majority vote approval in the full state Senate and Assembly this year would mean that a similar vote would also be required for a November ballot measure for the public to vote upon.
Without it, it would take a three-fifths (3/5) majority of both branches this year to allow for the measure to land on November’s ballot.
Currently, the state constitution prohibits college sports wagering on any event held in New Jersey, or one in which a New Jersey college team participates. Professional sports wagering is permitted only through casinos and current/former horse racetracks.
New Jersey, host to many college events including postseason tournaments, is home to eight NCAA Division I men’s and women’s college programs: Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, NJIT, Princeton, Rider, Rutgers, Saint Peter’s and Seton Hall. Monmouth, Rutgers and Princeton field football teams.