Now You Can Bet Legally on the Oscars for the First Time — and There’s a Heavy Favorite for Best Picture

Feb 12, 2019  •  Post A Comment

Betting on who will win the Academy Awards just became legal for the first time in the United States, the AP reports.

“New Jersey is the first state in the U.S. to allow sportsbooks to accept wagers on the Oscars, taking after a common practice in Europe and giving American fans another option besides informal office pools,” the story reports, adding: “Casinos see it as a way to attract more customers to the sportsbook, even with limited bets.”

“We have customers who aren’t huge sports fans, but enjoy playing games like bingo or roulette with us,” said Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive, which operates PlaySugarHouse.com in New Jersey. “We believe a new audience may be fans of the Oscars and want to make their viewing experience even more exciting by placing a bet on their favorite movie.”

The AP adds: “SugarHouse has ‘Roma’ as a big favorite to win best picture at the ceremony scheduled for Feb. 24. Some casinos are accepting bets only on best picture nominees, while others are offering more options, like best director, best actress and best actor.”

The report notes that the limits on Oscar betting tend to be much smaller than they are on sports wagers, with some sportsbooks setting the limit at $500 a bet.

The AP also notes: “Sportsbooks in Nevada have never offered wagers on the Oscars. The state has a long history of resisting wagering on non-sporting events — even explicitly banning bets on things like elections — but opened up slightly in 2011 by allowing wagers on the World Series of Poker, the first event bets allowed on something beyond a traditional sport.”

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