Gambling in the State of New Jersey

Gambling is illegal in most US states. This is because gambling laws are regulated at state level rather than at Federal level. U.S federal laws do not prohibit gambling, each individual state gets considerable leeway to each to manage its own laws. Some states allow some forms of gambling while keeping tight restrictions on others. Others allow pretty much the entire gambling spectrum.

Gambling in the State of New Jersey

New Jersey is one of the few US states where online gambling is legal. Gambling laws are in fact amongst the most relaxed in the country. New Jersey is one of just a handful of states in America where gambling laws make it perfectly legal for anyone to walk into casinos, gamble online and place bets with sportsbooks. Other States where online gambling is legal include Pennsylvania, Delaware, Indiana, Nevada, Rhode Island and Iowa. To be noted that by “legal” we do not mean all forms of gambling. Some states may allow one form of gambling but not another.

Note: State laws are not written in stone, they are changed, revised or updated from time to time. This article is in no way comprehensive and just provides an overview of gambling laws and online gambling in New Jersey.

Where can New Jersey Residents Gamble?

New Jersey was the second state after Nevada to legalise gambling. Nevada legalised gambling in 1931 and New Jersey 1978 respectively. So, if you are currently based within the state of New Jersey and you are wondering where you can gamble, then you have nothing to worry about. There are plenty of different options available for you and we are certain that one of them will meet your needs. Residents of New Jersey and anyone who is physically located within the state (visitors or non-residents) can still gamble freely in New Jersey –the main requirement being that you are 21 years and over .

Atlantic City

State-wide gambling is illegal in most states including New Jersey. Zoning restrictions means that casinos are limited to certain areas only. The only exception to this is Nevada and Louisiana where casino-style gambling has no zonal restrictions.

In New Jersey, most keen gamblers head straight over to Atlantic City, a resort known for its bright lights, casinos and panoramic views of the coastline. Following the legalization of casino gambling in the state of New Jersey, the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel became Resorts International. This was one of the very first licensed casinos in this State.

Las Vegas will always remain a stiff adversary to Atlantic city as a gambling destination. The American government went through lengths to attracting people to Atlantic City; huge boxing title fights with Mike Tyson, effective advertising and high-rise condominiums were used to attract people back to the state and re-ignite the industry. The tactic proved highly effective and lead to NJ becoming one of the most successful tourist destinations in the entire country in a short period of time.

In the summer of 2017, the gambling industry in New Jersey was hit by a momentous court case. The Supreme Court heard the case of Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, later going on to hear arguments about the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Pact (PASPA), a law at Federal level which restricted sports betting to a single State (Nevada) for 25 years. The case resulted in PASPA being overturned and declared anti-constitutional, opening the market for online sports betting in New Jersey. Following this, several casinos in Atlantic City went on to launch their own sportsbooks. This attracted gamblers of a different variety, as it gave people the option to bet on their favorite teams, events, etc.

The New Jersey Lottery

It wouldn’t be right for us to write an article like this one without taking a quick look at the New Jersey Lottery. The New Jersey Lottery is run by the U.S. state of New Jersey and allows both scratch cards and number-draws. The state does not allow machine-operated lottery draws (ie. machines where players insert coins and the machine generates numbers). Any profits or proceeds by the Lottery are re-invested into state institutions such as higher education. You need to be at least 18 years of age to play the lottery in NJ.

STATE LOTTERY LAW N.J.S.A. 5:9-1 et seq.Section 5:9-15 of the Lottery statute states:

“No ticket or share shall be sold to any persons under the age of 18, but this shall not be deemed to prohibit the purchase of a ticket or share for the purpose of making a gift by a person 18 years of age or older to a person less than that age. Any licensee who knowingly sells or offers to sell a lottery ticket or share to any person under the age of 18 is a disorderly person.” 

If you are thinking about playing, we recommend starting out with an in-house game of Pick-3. This is simply because draws take place twice a day meaning the wait for your results is very short.

New Jersey allows winners a maximum 1 year period to claim their prize. More information can be found here.

Betting on Horse Racing

With a longstanding legacy in horse racing, New Jersey is the State to be in for those with a passion for this sport.  Residents of this state have the best of both worlds right on their doorstep. With three racetracks and five off-track betting halls, you can decide exactly how you want to place your bets. Racetracks include Freehold Raceway in Freehold established in 1852, Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford and Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport.

Alternatively, gamblers have the option of going to the off-track betting halls. At this moment in time, these include Favorites at Gloucester Township in Gloucester Township, Favorites at Toms River in Toms River, Favorites at Vineland in Vineland, Favorites at Woodbridge in Woodbridge and Winners Bayonne in Bayonne.

It is worth noting that these places are fully regulated by the New Jersey Racing Commission. The commission ensures transparency and ensuring safety and ethical standards in this sector of the gambling industry.

Gaming with Online Casinos

Online Gambling in NJ is regulated and overseen by the Division of Gaming Enforcement which falls under the Departments of Law and Public Safety. In February 2013, through a Bill passed by governor Chris Christie, the enactment of a law made it legal for Atlantic city casinos to offer poker and casino games online. There was a trial period, or a “soft-launch” as it was called, which allowed the State to test the waters. After PASPA was repealed as mentioned previously in 2018, the State of NJ legalised online sports betting. This was a huge milestone for online gambling and now anyone over 21 years of age can gamble on sports in New Jersey.

There are around 30 licensed operators as of 2019 offering online gambling services in NJ, these include names such as Betfair, 888 casino, Cesaer’s casino and PokerStars to mention a small sample. All legal online operators in NJ must operate in partnership with one of New Jersey’s casinos such as the Golden Nugget or Ceaser’s. You can play slots that have been created by world famous gaming-innovators, each showing the RTP associated with the game so that you can make informed decisions. You can expect to find any of the games you can play at a brick-and-mortar Atlantic city casino.


Bingo halls are hard to come across in the State of NJ, although you may find a handful on the picturesque Boardwalk promenade in Atlantic City. New Jersey bingo games are operated and managed by a legal charity organization. If you don’t fancy going all the way to Atlantic city, then playing bingo from the ease and comfort of your own home is easy via online bingo sites. The bingo sites are fully licensed and accept players from across the USA.

Bingo is not regulated by single State or Federal gambling laws. This makes it possible for US residents to take part in bingo games offered by companies across the USA. The bingo site must be fully compliant with a legitimate authority that is responsible for regulating this sector of the industry.

Problem Gambling

If you know someone who may have a gambling problem, encourage them to contact the National Council on Problem Gambling. We also have a page about responsible gambling which can be useful for anyone wishing to find more information about gambling problems and support.

List of works referenced

Corasaniti, N. (2019). New Jersey Legalizes Sports Betting. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2019]. (2019). A History of American Gaming Laws [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2019]. (2019). Gambling in the United States. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2019]. (2019). State of New Jersey Racing Commission. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2019].

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