The history of gambling in New Jersey

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Did you know that the state of New Jersey has historically been more permissive of gambling than most other states? Gambling in New Jersey includes a number of different venues, such as casino gambling in Atlantic City, the New Jersey Lottery, horse racing, and off-track betting. Charity gambling, amusement games, and even social gambling are immensely popular.

New Jersey is famous because it has some of the least restrictive gambling laws in the United States. In this article, we tell you all about the history of gambling in New Jersey, and we also share with you some insights on the current state of things with gambling, the best New Jersey online casinos and NJ online casinos. If you are interested in this topic and would like to know more about it, continue reading to find more exciting insights into the world of gambling.

The Early Era

New Jersey might seem like a paradise for gambling lovers, but things weren’t always as easy as they are today. Did you know, for example, that lotteries were banned in New Jersey in 1844? Before that, they were actually extremely popular, and they had a rather social reason to exist: they were used to help the military during the French and Indian wars and the American Revolution as well. Lottery money also helped build Rutgers University and Princeton University as well.

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From 1894 to 1939, gambling was theoretically not allowed in New Jersey. Still, even then, the enforcement of this law was far from being consistent, and social gambling and its hypothetical prohibition was a rather unclear matter. Slot machines and other games, such as bookmaking and number games, were also popular throughout the state. Even churches and other non-profit organizations held bingos, and the Freehold Raceway operated without any issues. Even during the prohibition era, many gambling activities remained popular.

Casino Gambling

One of the most important developments in the history of gambling in New Jersey happened in 1976. During that year, New Jersey voters voted in a referendum to legalize casino gambling in Atlantic City. It led to the opening of the first legal casino, the Resort Casino Hotel, which was inaugurated in 1978. This moment marked the beginning of the thriving Atlantic City casino industry.

Atlantic City soon became one of the main gambling hubs of the East Coast. During the 1980s and 1990s, the city increased its popularity by opening many different casinos, some of which are extremely influential today, such as the Trump Taj Mahal and the Borgata. 

The land-based world of casinos is still extremely strong in New Jersey, as it is not only a matter of gaming but has also become a niche type of tourism. Because of this, Atlantic City became one of the most important casino-related tourist destinations in the world.

The thing is that we are living in the middle of the digital revolution, and because of this, we must also talk about the development of the best New Jersey online casinos, and we’ll do so in the next section.

NJ Online Casinos

Thanks to this gambling tradition, this area now has some of the best New Jersey online casinos out there. In 2013, New Jersey legalized online casino gambling and poker. It was one of the first states to legalize them, and because of this, New Jersey helped the gambling industry expand even more due to its new virtual format. The legalization of online casinos generated additional revenue, and it also provided a completely regulated environment for online betting. Thanks to the creation of such an environment, many NJ online casinos were created and are now thriving.

Sports betting was also legalized in 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, also known as PASPA. By doing this, New Jersey officially legalized sports betting. There have been some recent developments as well, and New Jersey is continuing to adapt its gambling industry to fit in with the newest trends. Thanks to its versatility and open-mindedness, the gambling industry in New Jersey remains one of the main contributors to the state’s economy.

To Conclude

In this article, we discussed the history of gambling in New Jersey. We provided a short summary of the origins and development of this industry across decades until we reached the modern era. Then, we talked about the creation of important casino hubs in Atlantic City, and we also explored the matter of online casinos in New Jersey. 

Thanks to this article, you now have a complete overview of gambling and casinos in New Jersey. You also know when gambling was legalized and how important Atlantic City is for the industry as a whole. Additionally, the digital revolution helped create some virtual space for some of the best online casinos in New Jersey, contributing to an already thriving industry.