Lucky 21 Is The Legal Sports Betting Age In New Jersey
Before PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court (7-2) this week, there weren’t any options for New Jersey residents to wager on sports at in-state facilities. Instead, the area’s hundreds of thousands of sports bettors were forced to do business on the local black market or at legal online sportsbooks based overseas (BetOnline, SportsBetting, etc.).
However, now that there looks to be online sports wagering finally available in the state in just a few months’ time, many gamblers will naturally wish to “legitimize” their activities by bringing them to local racino and casino services. That said, there is one important distinction between the newfound legal sports betting in NJ and those previous (but still available) “loophole” options: The legal sports betting age in New Jersey is 21.
This is sure to be a key consideration for NJ sports bettors going forward, as legal offshore sportsbooks all require their members to be only 18 years old to gamble on sports. Similarly, black market bookies don’t care how old you are – they just care if you’ve got the money to make your bets.
Thus, even with the state’s legal sports betting blossoming into the mainstream, there’s going to be a distinct age-based advantage for many potential customers to use the existing, long-established offshore bookmakers for their betting needs. In other words, if you’re not yet 21 and wish to bet on sports right now, there is nothing in New Jersey law that says you have to wait to do so – you can simply use a legal online sportsbook.
However, most states – and especially New Jersey – are aware of the money that these offshore books are going to siphon off their economies. Given that bettors have a full three-year head-start by using sportsbooks like BetOnline and SportsBetting (among several others), that represents tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars in handle that the state is missing out on by setting their betting age at 21.
Additionally, considering that New Jersey has established 18 years old to be the minimum age to play the state lottery and wager on horses, it makes little sense to differentiate between those activities and legal sports betting (since, for all intents and purposes, they are the same thing). Yes, casino gaming is limited to those 21 and older, but sports betting in New Jersey isn’t casino gaming, and to treat it as such will kneecap – to no small degree – the potential revenue that New Jersey and its economy would benefit from due to PASPA’s overturn.
If the state wishes to get the most bang for its buck and establish the most local betting business it can, it will have to poach a significant number of users from overseas sportsbooks. And that won’t be easy. Just think: If an 18-year-old signs up at BetOnline and puts in three years of rewarding experience (with all the active site bonuses and membership perks already paying dividends), there is much less of a chance that NJ-area sports betting facilities will draw him or her away from their established online stomping grounds.
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