New Jersey Seeking to Clarify Law Clarifying Contests of Skill

Staff January 6, 2014 836 Reads

New Jersey is about to clear up an archaic law that prevents its residents from participating in contests of skill. NorthJersey.com reported earlier today that New Jersey Assembly Bill 3624 (A-3624) essentially declares that a contest of skill does not constitute as illegal gambling under state law. The measure was unanimously approved by the state Assembly on Monday 78-0 and will move on to Governor Chris Christie for his signature.

Under current New Jersey law, contests of skill are considered to be illegal gambling. This means that if you want to enter your baby in a “Cutest Baby” contest, you are technically breaking the law.

According to Assemblyman Tim Eustace, the bill’s sponsor, “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.”

“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.”

Once passed, the bill will define a contest of skill as one where a winner or group of winners are selected based entirely on the quality of the entry as determined by a uniform set of rules and judged by a panel of judges. This law does not make games such as poker a “game of skill” as a portion of the outcome is determined by chance.

It should be noted that games such as poker were specifically excluded from this bill and rightfully so. While poker is considered to be a game of skill, there is still an element of change to any game of poker and in the strictest sense this will prevent many lawmakers from making a true “contest of skill.”

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