College Betting In New Jersey A No Go And Other Gambling Takeaways From Election Night

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on November 4, 2021

The hot gambling topics on this election cycle had to deal with college sports in New Jersey, a new casino in Virginia, and rodeo raffles in Texas.

Now that the chaos is over, let’s recap the results and see what gambling initiatives passed and which ones failed.

New Jersey voters say no to betting on college sports

Plain and simple, there will not be any betting on college sports in New Jersey.

Voters strongly rejected an expansion of sports betting to allow wagering on collegiate sports and college events in New Jersey. Roughly 57% of voters opposed a constitutional amendment placed on the ballot this week.

One of the reasons lawmakers wanted to pass the amendment so quickly is the arrival of the Men’s NCAA Basketball tournament in 2025. The regional round will be played at the Prudential Center in Newark, and if such an amendment is not in place, NJ sports betting will miss out on high-profile teams to accept bets on.

Virginia casino project fails to get enough support

On the gaming side of things, the notable ballot initiative in Virginia was the approval of the One Casino and Resort in Richmond.

In 2020, lawmakers approved five retail casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond. However, each city needed to go through the proper channels and sign off on each project.

After a months-long search for a casino partner, One Casino Resort, owned by media company Urban One, was the last company standing. Thus, the ballot initiative essentially asked voters if they would approve a Virginia casino in Richmond owned, operated and built by Urban One.

What seemed to be a lock turned out to be the opposite. As polls closed on election night, the margin of error was hovering around 3%, leaning towards the initiative tanking.

What happens next has yet to be determined. The assumption is, local officials will get back to the drawing board and select a different operator. At that point, another attempt at voter approval would be necessary.

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Charitable gaming at rodeos approved in Texas

It may not be Texas sports betting, but it’s something voters are clearly in favor of, and that’s charitable raffles at rodeo events.

On election night, 84% of voters approved an amendment permitting the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to offer raffles at events.

With the arrival of Florida sports betting and a California ballot initiative in 2022, perhaps Texas could be the next domino to fall. The appetite for gambling in the Lone Star State is apparent.

Photo by 3dfoto / Shutterstock
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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