It's currently illegal in New Jersey to gamble on college sports matchups that occur within the Garden State, or on any games involving New Jersey college teams.

It'll be up to New Jersey voters in November whether that rule will get scrapped. As of now, at least according to a new poll, the chances of that happening look grim.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of registered Garden State voters found that just 25% are in favor of the proposal to expand sports betting. Forty-nine percent said the local-team ban should stay in place, and the remainder said they weren't sure or didn't want to answer the question.

"There's still a lot of entrenched opposition to this, and supporters of this are going to have to change a lot of minds," said Dan Cassino, executive director of the poll and a professor of government and politics at FDU.

According to the poll, Republicans, men, and younger voters are the most likely to be supporters of the change.

New Jersey casinos have been allowed to accept wagers on sports since 2018, but not on contests involving a New Jersey school or any college sports event taking place in New Jersey. The main concern has been the possibility of match-fixing; as student-athletes aren't paid, the thought is that they'd be more susceptible to bribes.

But, according to Cassino, this may be less of a concern now that NCAA rule changes are allowing student-athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image and likeness.

Both houses of the New Jersey Legislature, most recently the Assembly, lopsidedly voted in favor of putting the proposed change before the voters on the November ballot.

But the uphill climb for support of the change, Cassino said, may have a lot to do with "status quo bias" — when people don't know much about a ballot item, they're less likely to vote in favor of a change.

"Even on the ballot in November, it's going to say that right now it's not allowed," Cassino said.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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