New Jersey Casinos Are Now Taking Bets On The 2019 Oscars

For the first time ever, Americans can legally bet on the Oscars--as long as they're in New Jersey

2019 Oscars
2019 Oscars (credit:

The 91st Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, takes place on February 24. For the first time, New Jersey residents and visitors can legally place bets on who will win.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) sent an email to all its licensed operators saying:

“The Division has received multiple requests to allow wagering on the 2019 Academy Awards (a/k/a The Oscars), which is taking place on February 24, 2019.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.Please let me know if you intend to offer this event and, if so, what wagers you plan to offer and what limits you intend to place on the amounts of bets.”

Immediately half a dozen operators opened online books on the event, including DraftKings, BetStars, FanDuel and PointsBet.

Oscars on again off again and ON!

Shortly thereafter, FanDuel and then the others withdrew their Oscar betting pages, and then put them all back up again. The mysterious and fortunately temporary setback was down to the DGE. Rumor has it that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which runs the awards filed its opposition to betting on the event.

There has never been legal betting on the Oscars, even in Nevada, so this year is a real first. This may have unsettled AMPAS, but whatever their objections, they seem to be settled. As of today, all Oscar books are back up and taking bets.

Factors to take into account before betting

The Oscars regularly throws up outsiders winning in some category or other. Bettors who want to beat the odds need to be keenly aware of what is fashionable and what the AMPAS members want to reward this year. It also helps to know who the big spenders are and what they are promoting.

First focus on the membership. Actors make up by far and away the biggest voting block, and they are fickle. A few years ago the Academy made a serious effort to diversify its membership. The result is a much younger membership with interests that err on the progressive side of the political spectrum.

Any biopic of Donald Trump is not going to make it through the nominations.

Then there is the bizarre voting system. For Best Picture, members list the films in rank order. Any film that gets 51% of the first place votes automatically wins, but if no film hits the winning line, a preferential vote system comes into play.

Suddenly, it become important to have a lot of second and third place rankings. Films that members either love or hate suffer under this system.

It is only the Best Picture category where the entire Academy votes. Actors vote for Best Actor, directors for Best Director and so on. The skill in picking the winners comes from identifying what each group thinks of each picture in its category. The writers may well not be impressed with a film which wins Best Picture, but have criteria quite different to the rest of the Academy.

Then emotion can never be discounted. This year BlackKklansman looks popular, but not at the top of everybody’s list. That honor goes to Roma. But this is probably the last year the Academy will get the chance to give the award to Spike Lee. That pushes the odds in his favour, especially because BlackKklansman will probably get a lot of second and third place nominations.

Nominations in top categories

While betting may be available, the nominations suggest that there’s no sure thing out there. At least risking a few dollars can make watching the ceremony more enjoyable, especially with friends.

Nominations in each of the top four categories are as follows:

Best Picture

Black Panther – Kevin Feige

BlacKkKlansman – Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee

Bohemian Rhapsody – Graham King

The Favourite – Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos

Green Book – Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga

Roma — Gabriela Rodríguez and Alfonso Cuarón

A Star Is Born – Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor

Vice – Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin J. Messick

Best Director

Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman

Paweł Pawlikowski – Cold War

Yorgos Lanthimos – The Favourite

Alfonso Cuarón – Roma

Adam McKay – Vice

Best Leading Actor

Christian Bale – Vice as Dick Cheney

Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born as Jackson "Jack" Maine

Willem Dafoe – At Eternity's Gate as Vincent van Gogh

Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody as Freddie Mercury

Viggo Mortensen – Green Book as Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga

Best Leading Actress

Yalitza Aparicio – Roma as Cleodegaria "Cleo" Gutiérrez

Glenn Close – The Wife as Joan Castleman

Olivia Colman – The Favourite as Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Lady Gaga – A Star Is Born as Ally Maine

Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me? as Lee Israel

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