Gambling Laws in New Jersey: Overview, History, and Regulatory Bodies

Arsenii Anderson
New Jersey Gambling Laws

Wagering has been a popular pastime for many years. Depending on the type of gambling you do, whether it’s placing bets on sports or casino games, betting provides a certain type of thrill that most people find entertaining. The New Jersey gambling industry is bustling and has a long history, as it has pioneered gambling in many ways with the Atlantic City casinos.

Gambling in New Jersey began online in 2013 and became a blueprint for other states seeking to regulate and legalize gambling activities. In this article, we will focus on the gambling laws in New Jersey.

How’s Gambling Defined in New Jersey?

Understanding that we do not always define gambling the same way, let’s take a closer look at how the statute of New Jersey defines it. According to New Jersey statute, gambling is defined as “risking something valuable in return for good results such as receiving great bonuses and cash prizes.”

Please note that you need to abide by the NJ gambling laws by understanding or agreeing to the terms and conditions of the various casinos where you play — you will only enjoy the games if you follow the casino’s policies.

What Types of Gambling are Legal in New Jersey?

For those people wondering is gambling legal in New Jersey, the quick answer is yes. In fact, there are several types of legal gambling available in the state:

  • Casino gambling: NJ is home to nine gambling land-based sites in Atlantic City, where visitors can play games like poker, table games, slot machines, and more;
  • Online gambling: New Jersey online gambling laws have been in place since 2013, covering online poker, online casinos, and sports betting (since 2018);
  • Horse racing: New Jersey gambling laws have legalized horse racing and the state has several racetracks;
  • Charitable gambling: You will find raffles and bingo as certain types of charitable gambling available in NJ;
  • Lottery: There is a state lottery, which offers a variety of games including fast-play games, scratch-off tickets and draw games;
  • Social gambling: You are allowed to gamble at work, with family, etc.;
  • Off-track betting: This focuses more on horse racing without racetracks and greyhound races;
  • Amusement games: Also known as carnival games, these contests are also allowed in the state.

New Jersey Casino Control Act

The New Jersey Casino Control Act focuses on regulating the gambling industry in Atlantic City. It established the state’s Casino Control Commission as the responsible agency for overseeing casinos’ operations. It aimed to protect the public interest, ensure fairness and integrity, and encourage economic development.

To achieve this, the state imposed strict licensing requirements for employees, vendors, and casino operators, who need to undergo background checks to know whether they’re suitable before holding a license. Additionally, there are several standards for site operations, such as security, accounting practices, and game fairness requirements.

The Act also created the Division of Gaming Enforcement, which investigates anybody who violates the Act’s laws regarding gambling. Anybody who breaches the Act will have to pay a fine and their ability to participate in casino activities will be suspended.

Regulatory Bodies and Organizations in New Jersey

There are several additional regulatory bodies and organizations in New Jersey that oversee gambling activities:

Division of Gaming Enforcement


Official website:

This organization focuses on casino law enforcement. Before receiving a license, casinos will be investigated as part of the Casino Control Act. The Division of Gaming Enforcement questions most casino documents, investigates issues, reviews reports, and audits all casino operations.

Casino Control Commission

Official website:

This group facilitates public trust and confidence as a supported licensing regulation authority. This helps the industry and promotes integrity. The Commission is known to partner with all the casino’s stakeholders as well as keep ethical norms and supervise the implementation of the gambling laws in NJ.

NJ Racing Commission

Official website:

Most race-related wagering in NJ–such as account wagering, horse racing, exchange wagering, and pari-mutuel wagering–are regulated by this organization. It ensures the integrity and security of sports activities. It was created in 2018 and is responsible for all sports activities occurring in NJ racetracks.

The Casino Association of New Jersey

Official website:

This organization works directly with the gambling industry by providing reliable ideas and data for the general public, casino stakeholders, industry players, and other interested parties. This organization seeks to provide the thousands of jobs supported by the gambling industry across the state as well as protect them.

Legal Gambling Age in NJ

Land-Based CasinosOnline CasinosIn-Person Sports BettingOnline Sports BettingHorse Race BettingOnline PokerLotteryBingoFantasy SportsCharitable Gambling

If you were wondering “how old do you have to be to gamble in New Jersey?” — here is the answer. The legal gambling age in NJ is 21. If someone aged 20 or under is accompanied by a legal guardian in a brick-and-mortar casino, they will be allowed on the gambling premises. However, people under the New Jersey casino age will not be allowed to gamble.

Comparatively, other states in the US have varying legal gambling ages. For example, Michigan also requires individuals to be 21 years old to gamble, mirroring the casino age in NJ (unless it’s one of the MI tribal casinos, which are not regulated by the MGCB). So does Pennsylvania, which similarly enforces a legal gambling age of 21. In contrast, West Virginia permits gambling at the age of 18. This lower age requirement allows individuals aged 18 and older to participate in various gambling activities, such as lottery, bingo, and racing, while casino gaming and sports betting are also allowed for those of 21 years old or older.

Please note that the state’s gambling regulations can evolve, so it’s essential to verify the minimum gambling age in your specific state before engaging in any gambling activity. Additionally, each state may have its own unique rules and regulations governing the gambling industry beyond just the legal age requirements.

Online Gambling

The legal gambling age in New Jersey for online play is 21.

Horse Racing and Off-Track Betting

The NJ gambling age regarding horse racing and off-track betting is age 18. All gamblers are required to follow New Jersey online gambling laws.

Charitable Gambling

To participate in charitable gambling activities, you are required to be 18 and above.

Winnings Taxation in New Jersey

In all gambling wins, you should be aware of the taxes in NJ you need to pay.

Tax Responsibilities: Once you win a prize of over $10,000, you will need to pay state taxes on it.

Withholdings: The normal rate for payouts for all players is estimated at 3%. The taxes are determined according to the amount you win. Here are the NJ Lottery withholding rates:

  • A 5% payout for $10,001 to $500,000;
  • An 8% payout for amounts above $500,000;
  • When the player does not provide their correct documents, they’ll be charged 8% for amounts above $10,000.

History of Gambling Laws in New Jersey

Gambling in New Jersey has a complex and long history, with various laws and regulations affecting the industry over the years. NJ was the state that mostly permitted gambling during the colonial era compared to other states, and those in the military, partook in lotteries to raise funds for training and other projects such as the NJ college’s construction.

Plus, it was in 1844 when the state prohibited lotteries and this led to a recession because it was helping gamblers fund most of their projects. Later in 1894, pari-mutuel betting was banned and only became legal in 1939.

After so many thoughts of legalizing gambling and the benefits it will bring to the state’s residents, the first gambling site was legalized in 1978 but to promote and ensure fairness and honesty of all gambling sites in the state of NJ, operators had to first follow the casino Control Act which was established in 1977. In 2013, online gambling was legalized in New Jersey with the first online casinos launched the same year. After the overturn of PASPA in 2018, New Jersey officially legalized online sports betting.


What is the legal gambling age in NJ?

The legal gambling age in NJ is 21, but minors can enter the gambling site’s premises if they’re accompanied by their legal guardian. Anybody below the age of 21 will not be allowed to drink alcohol. We recommend you follow the casino’s terms and conditions and play responsibly.

Is online gambling legal in NJ?

Yes, it is. Any New Jersey resident can enjoy the games provided at traditional gambling sites online. It has been legalized in New Jersey online gambling laws since 2013.

Do you have to be a resident of New Jersey to gamble in NJ online casinos?

Do you have to be a resident of New Jersey to gamble in NJ online casinos?

Are there casinos in New Jersey that are owned by the tribes?

No, there are no tribal casinos in New Jersey.

What happens if you get caught gambling under 21 in New Jersey?

According to the NJ gambling laws, you need to be at least 21 to take part in casino gambling activities. Underaged gambling is a low-level criminal offense, getting caught will lead to a fine up to $1,000, a driving license suspension, and the event will go into your criminal record.

Are there any differences in gambling laws for Atlantic City compared to the rest of New Jersey?

No, the gambling regulation in New Jersey applies to the whole state — there is no separate Atlantic City casino age or any other exceptions. However, there are no casinos outside AC yet. Players from other locations within the state may enjoy gambling on NJ casino apps instead.

Can you bet on sports in New Jersey?

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