Can Professional Sports Athletes Gamble on Sports in New Jersey?

Simply put, a professional athlete isn’t permitted to place wagers on any sport while being an active sportsperson. The primary reason for this is their affiliation to a particular team or sports body. We’ll dive deeper into the laws and facts about professional athletes and gambling.

Fast Facts about Gambling for Pro Athletes in NJ:

Law that regulates sports wagering: Sports Wagering Law PL2018c33
Law that regulates proxy betting:N.J.A.C. 13:69N-2.1 Betting on behalf of another prohibited
Penalty for violating the law: Minimum of $500 and not more than $1,000
Who to contact regarding sports wagering information:The Division of Gaming Enforcement’s Public Information Officer, Kerry Langan. Email: [email protected]: (609) 317-6201 
Table with facts on gambling for pro athletes in NJ.
Proxy betting nj prohibited 13-69N2-1
This paragraph can be found in the legal text: N.J.A.C. 13:69N-2.1. (1)

FAQs

What happens if a professional athlete gambles on sports in New Jersey?

They can face a fine or suspension from the relevant sport.

Can a professional athlete participate in a sportsbooks event without betting?

Since there is no wagering, an athlete can participate in an event to honor sponsorships.

Does the law only apply to New Jersey or other states as well?

Different states have diverse laws to deal with sports betting by athletes, but generally, professionals are prohibited from sports wagering in all states. (1)

Can a professional athlete gamble on sports outside the United States?

Yes. Players can place wagers on games taking place elsewhere in the world.

Does the law apply to both land-based and online sportsbooks?

Yes, if you’re a professional athlete, there’s no way you can bet on sports in New Jersey. (2)

Why Can’t a Professional Athlete Gamble on Sports in NJ?

Allowing an athlete to bet on a sports game will ultimately influence performances and affect the outcome of some games. 

This principle is applied to several other states apart from New Jersey, and the reason behind this law is to keep sports as pure as possible.

Players who can wager on sports will freely bet on their own performance. Sometimes, they might fetch greater odds for a poorer showing, encouraging them to wager more money in the hope of a more significant return. 

As a result, they would approach the game with a different mindset, knowing that they need to underperform to eventually ‘win’.

Furthermore, if a player usually bets high on his excellent performances and suddenly decides to lower his wager against a particular opponent, it would send a message to the sportsbook staff, operators, guests, and other team members. The world of sport as we know it will cease to exist.

These laws protect both athletes and sports fans. 

What Happens to an Athlete That Gambles on Sports in NJ?

Athletes who are part of a sports body and place wagers will be at risk of earning themselves a fine of anything between $500 to $1000.

Additionally, they could face a suspension from playing the sport.

What about betting on themselves - Is it possible?

If an athlete plays a sport where they don’t rely on teammates, it’s still illegal to place wagers. Professional golfers could easily bet that they won’t make the cut or be knocked out early in a major tournament.

While their career may suffer, they stand the chance of making large amounts of money through betting. However, New Jersey forbids athletes from gambling because it will affect everyone who loves and enjoys the sport.

Sportsbooks will identify the trends of athletes betting, which will trickle down to gamblers and eventually affect the integrity of the sport.  

With the legalization of online casinos and sportsbooks, athletes no longer have to place their bets in person. 

As a result, some may recruit agents that act on their behalf. It's a practice that’s become more prominent in recent years where a third party takes the bets for the athlete so nobody can link the transaction back to the pro.

It’s also about convenience since they can make money without anybody knowing. However, when there is a large amount to claim, the sportsbook may require personal details, which is when most third-party agents start to flounder. (3)

Any legal NJ sportsbook will most likely find this type of “proxy betting” when doing their KYC checks. 

Is there a possibility that the law will change, and athletes also get the right to bet on sports?

Since 2021, there’s been talk about leagues from all codes of sport reconsidering their policies on disallowing players from gambling. Most of the country’s major leagues adopt the same stance regarding professional athletes' gambling - you are not allowed to gamble on sports.

There is a possibility that this law could change in future, but proper processes must be in place to avoid corruption.

Takeaway on Why a Professional Athlete Cannot Gamble on Sports in NJ

It’s apparent that professional athletes aren’t allowed to gamble on the sports they place because they have a vested interest. Even if a player is injured and not participating, they know what other gamblers probably won’t. 

Furthermore, they most likely have affiliates in other teams across the league, so it’s not fair for them to make money from sports betting.

Bear in mind that any form of gambling for a sports person would lead to corruption and eventual loss of love for the sport. By prohibiting sportspeople from gambling, we’re keeping the market relatively clean.

Resources & Sources

  1. Chapter 69n Sports Wagering Subchapter 1. Sports Pool Licensing And Operations, accessed 6th of July, 2022, <http://www.nj.gov/oag/ge/docs/Regulations/CHAPTER69N.pdf>
  2. Evander Kane betting allegations: What we know and what we don't, ESPN, accessed 27 June 2022,
    <http://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/31944608/evander-kane-betting-allegations-know>
  3. Sports Wagering Requirements, NJ Gov, accessed 27 June 2022, <http://www.nj.gov/oag/ge/docs/SportsBetting/FAQs.pdf>
  4. Sports Wagering Law, NJ Gov, accessed 27 June 2022, <http://www.nj.gov/lps/ge/docs/SportsBetting/SportsWageringLawPL2018c33.pdf>
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