Bill Brings Common Sense & Eliminates Confusion over Contests
Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Eustace to bring an end to an archaic state law that bars New Jersey residents from participating in contests of skill was approved by a Senate panel on Monday.
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 will not subject the participant or the sponsor of the contest 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). “As it stands now, New Jersey residents are barred from participating in anything even as simple as a baking or photography contest. 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.”
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. However, 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 measure was approved by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee today. It was unanimously approved by the full Assembly in May and now awaits final legislative consideration by the full Senate.