UNC Declared Winner of East Region at New Jersey Sportsbooks Due to College Sports Betting Ban

UNC Declared Winner of East Region at New Jersey Sportsbooks Due to College Sports Betting Ban article feature image

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Bettors in New Jersey who wagered on the University of North Carolina to reach the Final Four have already been paid out due to a quirk in the state's sports betting regulations.

In the state of New Jersey, you are unable to wager on a college team that is based in the state — regardless of sport.

That means sports fans in the state haven't been able to wager on Saint Peter's, located in Jersey City, at all this tournament. Nor are they normally able to wager on teams like Rutgers, Princeton or the dozens of other programs located across New Jersey. Bettors also aren't able to wager on games hosted in the state, regardless of where the competitors are based.

It also means that UNC's odds of roughly +2500 to win the East Region and make the Final Four have already been cashed.

The Action Network has confirmed these cashouts at Caesars Sportsbook, PointsBet, WynnBet and BetMGM.

Shrewd bettors can simply cross the bridge or tunnels into New York or make a short drive to Pennsylvania if they have conviction about a New Jersey university. But those who don't want to spend the time have been unable to legally bet on their alma maters since New Jersey launched online sports betting in 2018.

It's a regulation that has received pushback from residents and lawmakers alike. A constitutional amendment was introduced in 2021 that would have allowed for betting on college sports in the state.

And later that year, a ballot question was posed that would allow voters to decide whether New Jersey college sports could be wagered on. The measure did not pass, with 57% of voters saying no.

The state did not include betting on college sports in its original 2011 referendum that approved in-person sports betting because stakeholders, like the NCAA, were concerned about unpaid, amateur athletes throwing games.

But, with NCAA athletes now allowed to sell their name, image and likeness in the open market, lawmakers believe the incentive for athletes to throw games has decreased precipitously.

And the current regulations may help push bettors toward illegal books, too. Former Action Network betting legalization correspondent Ryan Butler wrote last year that the ban on college sports betting in the state is one of the major factors in pushing would-be legal bettors into illegal markets.

Despite the absence of New Jersey bettors, Saint Peter's is the public's third-most popular team to win the title this year. The Peacocks only trail Duke and Kansas in total handle at BetMGM to win March Madness outright.

No. 15 seed Saint Peter's opened as 3000-1 underdogs to pull off the miracle. Now? They're just 30-1.

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