Eustace & Wagner Bill to Make Clear New Jersey Residents Don’t Violate the Law by Joining Contests of Skill Released by Assembly Panel

Bill Brings Common Sense & Eliminates Confusion over Contests

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Tim Eustace and Connie Wagner sponsored to make clear participation by New Jersey residents in contests of skill does not constitute unlawful gambling was advanced Monday by an Assembly panel.
The bill (A-3624) provides that participation by a New Jersey resident in a contest of skill in which a participant pays an entry fee for the opportunity to win money or something else of value is not considered a game of chance, does not constitute unlawful gambling and and will not subject the participant or the sponsor of the contest of skill to any civil or criminal liability.
“This addresses the reluctance of some contest sponsors to accept entries from New Jersey residents because of their belief doing so would violate New Jersey’s gambling laws,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The confusion on this point is apparently the result of a misinterpretation of New Jersey case law that addresses gambling, so let’s clear this up and bring some common sense.”
“The current confusion has had the effect of denying New Jersey residents the opportunity to participate in such events as baking and photography contests sponsored by reputable national organizations that are not involved in any form of gambling,” said Wagner (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Under the bill, New Jersey residents would be free to participate in contests of skill and the sponsors would be free to accept entries from New Jersey residents without fear doing so would violate New Jersey’s gambling laws.”
Under the bill, the term “contest of skill” is defined to mean any contest where the winner or winners are selected solely on the quality of an entry in the contest as determined by a panel of judges using uniform criteria to assess the quality of entries.
Under the bill, a “contest of skill” does not include any contest, game, pool, gaming scheme or gaming device in which the outcome depends in a material degree upon an element of chance.
The bill was released by the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming Committee.