NJ Senate Committee Advances Competitive Eating, eSports Bill

NJ Senate Committee Advances Competitive Eating, eSports Bill
By Lou Monaco

A bill passed by a New Jersey Senate Committee this week would add future competitions, including the famous annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest every July 4 and entertainment awards, for wagering in the state.

S2670, sponsored by Sen. James Beach (District 6, Burlington and Camden), passed through the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee on Monday and now moves to a full Assembly or Senate vote (whichever comes first). The bill must be passed by the Assembly and Senate before going to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk for signature.

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The next voting session in New Jersey will be Thursday, but the bill was not on the agenda as of Wednesday afternoon. The next potential date would be on May 20.

The bill is also similar to Assembly Bill 637 during the 2020-21 legislative session.

Under existing sports betting law, the term “sports event” includes a wide variety of events. This bill would expand the list of sporting events to include any skill-based attraction, including awards competitions and competitive eating contests.

The Academy or Emmy Awards could be added to the “sporting events” list for oversight by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) if the bill passes. In the past, the state has permitted voting on the Oscars, but the DGE had to make a special ruling to do so.

The bill would impose a wager limit not more than $100 or a win limit of $500, whichever is greater.

Other Components of Bill

ESports was also part of the passed measure as under existing law, certain events, such as high school sporting events, are considered “prohibited sports events” and cannot be wagered on. The bill allows for DGE approval of eSports competitions under certain conditions and clarifies the age limit regarding eSports events because there are younger players in video gaming.

The last part of the bill allows for a transactional waiver period of six months for racetracks with a sports wagering lounge to continue accepting bets. This enables Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands and Monmouth Park to continue operations while adding other online sports wagering operations and obtaining additional licenses from the racing commission and the DGE.

The DGE could allow for renewal of the transactional waiver up to three one-year periods after the initial waiver, which would simplify jurisdictional oversight for sportsbooks, according to the bill.



Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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