College sports betting on New Jersey schools and events that take place in the state will be up for a vote in the Garden State in November, but according to a recent poll, voters might not pass it.
The latest results from the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll released Thursday show that voters oppose constitutional amendment that would allow for legal sports betting in New Jersey on local teams by a surprising 2 to 1 margin, with only 25% saying that they favor the change to the state constitution.
How Survey Breaks Down
Younger voters, those without a college degree and Republicans are the most likely to support the measure.
“Many voters still aren’t sure where they stand on the matter,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of government and politics at FDU and the Executive Director of the poll, in a news release. “But supporters are going to need to change a lot of minds if they want to get this passed.”
One-quarter of registered voters (25%) said that betting on college sports should be allowed, with half (49%) saying that it should continue to be banned. The remainder (26%) said they weren’t sure or didn’t want to answer the question.
While New Jersey casinos have been allowed to offer wagers on professional and collegiate sports since 2018, current law prohibits betting on any contest involving a New Jersey school, or any college sports event taking place in New Jersey.
In late June, a lopsided majority of the state Assembly voted to put the question on the ballot in November; it had previously passed the state Senate 36 to 1.
Initially, college sports had been excluded from the sports betting law because of concerns about match-fixing: as student-athletes aren’t paid, it was thought that they might be more susceptible to bribes.
However, in the wake of a Supreme Court decision and NCAA rules changes allowing student-athletes to be paid regarding individual name, likeness and image, this might be less of a concern.
Those most likely to be supporters of the change were Republicans (32% compared to 18% support among Democrats), men (36%) and the youngest voters: 36% of voters under 35 support it, compared with just 11% of seniors.
However, in a normal off-year election, like the one happening in November, older and more educated voters are disproportionately likely to turn out, increasing the difficulty of passing the constitutional amendment. Only 22% of voters with a college degree say that they support the measure.
“This change might have had a better chance in a higher turnout year,” Cassino said. “But among the voters who tend to turn out the most, there’s just no appetite for expanding gaming yet again.”
The survey was conducted between June 9-16, using a certified list of registered voters in New Jersey. Voters were randomly chosen from the list and contacted in one of two ways.
Three-quarters of the respondents (608) received an invitation through SMS (text) to fill out the survey online, via a provided link. The other quarter of respondents (195) were contacted via telephone, using the same registered voter list.
The survey, conducted by Braun Research, Inc, in Princeton, covers 803 registered voters in New Jersey, ages 18 and older, and was conducted entirely in English. Of the interviews, 123 were conducted over landlines, the remainder via cell phones.
State Could Benefit From College Sports Betting
New Jersey has numerous college teams and regularly hosts tournament events.
The state is home to eight NCAA Division I men’s and women’s programs: Rutgers, Seton Hall, Saint Peter’s, Rider, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, NJIT and Princeton. Monmouth, Princeton and Rutgers have football teams.
College football betting in New Jersey has been a success, with several sportsbooks operating in the state.
The NCAA selected the Prudential Center in Newark to host the 2025 NCAA Men’s College Basketball Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, as college basketball betting in NJ continues to grow in popularity as well.
If voters decide to amend the state’s constitution and allow betting on in-state wagering, New Jersey’s sports betting market will continue to grow and flourish. The state is regularly at the top of sports betting handle charts. In 2020, New Jersey recorded the highest handle of any state, taking in $15.2 billion in wagers.