NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Peter J. Imlay, of Cinnaminson

Gaming and New Jersey: What's the history?

Screen Shot 2022-09-28 at 20.48.48

From Atlantic City to online gaming, it's safe to say that New Jersey has a long-standing affiliation with gaming and gambling fun. The famous Boardwalk dates back centuries - and the industry is a major money-puller in the heart of NJ. Since then, the thirst for games has grown massively and has, of course, evolved with the advent of online slots and more.


Let's take a quick look at a brief history of gaming and gambling across the state and why NJ is one of the more playful territories across the US.


When did gambling first become legal in New Jersey?


Gambling laws have come and gone in New Jersey since the 1700s, from the first establishment of Atlantic City and the iconic Boardwalk. In fact, lotteries and sports betting have helped cement the growing NJ economy over the years.


For example, while betting at the famed Freehold Raceway wasn't officially legal until around 1939, the racing there is something of a pillar for New Jersey's gaming fame. Freehold is no longer the sole racing stadium cross-state, but it's the bastion of betting that many historians point to (pre- and post-legal status). 


It's widely recognized that the 1977 New Jersey Casino Control Act helped to approve funded gaming across the state. The law helped Atlantic City scale up in urban development, thus introducing more tourists into its resorts and creating abundant new jobs from corner to corner.


What about online gaming and gambling?


Of course, time moved on. While the online bingo and slots boom may have caught on in the early to mid-00s, it wasn't until February 2013 that NJ first allowed legal casino gaming and gambling online. As a result, the online real money slots you can play today are permitted thanks to the landmark A2578 bill.


This bill allows NJ establishments and individuals to partake in slots, casino games, sports betting, and poker via the web. This law further reinforced NJ's status as a capital for gaming fun.


New Jersey's relaxed attitude to games and gambling (compared to many other states) has helped to establish the territory as a go-to for all kinds of Vegas-style experiences. It also means you're likely to find plenty of casinos (online and otherwise) established in-state for access wherever it's legal for you to opt-in across the US.


Does New Jersey rival Nevada as the gaming capital of the US?


In many ways, Atlantic City holds its own as a unique gaming metropolis, just a different flavor to what you may expect out on the Vegas Strip. It's certainly built up a fine reputation as one of the more relaxed, fun-loving states you can head to if you want to unwind.


NJ's relaxed attitude is coupled with safety and regulation to ensure online gamers are safe when enjoying slots and other games. Therefore, while gamers are likely to feel at home here, there's no need to worry about losing control.