Perhaps Super Bowl Sunday was not quite your cup of tea, but you still want something to brag about in the coffee room on Monday morning?
Sunday, millions of Americans will tune in for the 91st Academy Awards and over a dozen sportsbooks in New Jersey will be accepting bets on who you think will win an Oscar during the ceremony, with some encompassing all 24 categories, ranging from best picture, best-supporting actor and actress, all the way to best costume design.
The product could mark a major shift from the typical wagering made on sports betting, which has grown considerably in several states since a landmark U.S Supreme Court ruling in May 2018 striking down a near-nationwide ban on the practice.
Although over a dozen venues are accepting wagers on the Oscars, the state’s gaming regulators said this will be a one-time-only product offering for patrons.
“The Division [of Gaming Enforcement] has received multiple requests to allow wagering on the 2019 Academy Awards,” reads a letter to gaming operators from the DGE, which regulates New Jersey’s sports betting market. “After reviewing the relevant information on integrity issues, the division has determined that pre-event betting on the Oscars can be offered for this year only.”
The casinos accepting wagers for the Oscars include Hard Rock Hotel Casino Atlantic City, Caesars Entertainment’s Atlantic City properties, Golden Nugget and Resorts Casino & Hotel Atlantic City.
Pennsylvania-based SugerHouse Casino, which runs an online sports pool in New Jersey, is also accepting wagers. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetStarsNJ, William Hill and playMGM, all online sportsbooks, are also accepting wagers for this Sunday’s Oscars.
“I’ve been doing the odds on the Oscars for 25 years, and never took a bet on it. It’s always been for entertainment purposes only, coffee table conservations, so to speak,” John Avello, director of sports operations at DraftKings, told NJBIZ.
“The enforcement division has given us the go-ahead to take wagers on the Oscars and we’re doing it and it’s happening and it’s great,” Avello said.
The practice of betting on non-sports activity has been more common in Europe, according to Kevin Hennessy, FanDuel’s publicity director.
“It’s the first time it’s been done in the [United States]. It’s kind of popular in Europe, and Las Vegas has only done it for entertainment purposes,” Hennessy said. “In Europe they do ‘who’s going to be the next James Bond.’ It all comes down to what the DGE will permit.”