New Jersey Bill That Cleared Assembly Could Cap Oscars Wins At $500

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Could New Jersey tighten up betting limits on some non-sports events?

A bill, A637, was introduced in January and cleared a committee in March before last week’s 74-0 approval in the Assembly. The bill on Monday was sent to the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee for consideration.

One of the more noteworthy components of the bill is with regard to events on which the state’s licensed online/mobile sportsbooks are able to accept bets.

Earlier this year, for the second year in a row, New Jersey sportsbooks were able to take bets on the Academy Awards. The largest bet someone could make on the awards show was $1,000.

That limit could come down under the legislation, if state regulators believe the Oscars lack the “appropriate policies and procedures to monitor the integrity” of the competition. There is, of course, inside information with the Oscars, which is why limits were in place already.

It is not a certainty that Oscar betting limits would come down.

“In the absence of such [integrity]  certification, the director shall impose a wager limit of not more than $100 or a win limit of $500, whichever is greater, on the amount permitted to be wagered or won on such competitions or contests by any individual,” the 14-page bill reads.

The proposed betting limit could also help regulators limit wagering on Russian table tennis, for example, which has had integrity concerns. Sportsbooks have taken wagers on all sorts of fringe leagues and associations during the ongoing pandemic in order to stay afloat.

Furthermore, the bill would put into statute that New Jersey sportsbooks could take wagers on “any live competition or talent contest, including awards competitions and competitive eating contests,” subject to regulatory inspection. That provision could greatly expand sports betting options in the state.

Bill tidies up existing law

According to the state’s list of approved events for gambling, New Jersey sportsbooks can take bets on the Oscars, Emmys, and the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Those are the only events listed under the “entertainment” category.

Those offerings are permitted under the New Jersey Casino Control Act’s definition of “authorized game.”

An authorized game includes “any game that [regulators]  may determine by regulation to be suitable for use for wagering through the internet.”

That appears to be the loophole under which sportsbooks were able to take bets on the Oscars.

A637 would put those “entertainment” betting markets into the sports wagering law.

Additionally, the bill expands eSports wagering in the state.

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Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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