In a first for legal sports betting in the United States, bookmakers in New Jersey will be permitted to take bets on the Oscars this year.

Oscars Academy Awards betting
The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Feb. 24, and New Jersey sportsbooks will be able to offer betting on who will win Oscars this year. (Image: AMPAS)

The decision by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE), which was first reported by Legal Sports Report, applies only to this year, with no guarantees that betting on the Academy Awards will be permitted going forward.

Oscars Betting Popular Overseas

European and offshore sportsbooks have taken betting on the Oscars for many years now. However, Nevada regulations do not allow for this type of entertainment-based wagering, making this decision a first in the United States.

“The Division has received multiple requests to allow wagering on the 2019 Academy Awards,” read an email sent to sports betting operators by the DGE. “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 email also asked oddsmakers to give the DGE a heads up when it came to their plans, including what kinds of bets would be offered and what limits would be placed on these markets.

The Oscars will be broadcast on Feb. 24. Along with the premier award for Best Picture, other featured categories like Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress are likely to garner plenty of wagering attention.

And the Oscar Goes To…                                                     

While New Jersey sportsbooks will be the first in the United States to offer odds on these categories – and perhaps others – they won’t have to make up their odds from scratch. Since many reputable bookmakers overseas already have experience in this regard, there’s plenty of guidance when it comes to determining which films should be favorites and which are longshots to pick up any hardware.

For instance, “Roma” is the 8/11 favorite to take down Best Picture according to William Hill. That puts it ahead of “Green Book” (7/2), “The Favourite” (7/1), and “A Star is Born” (12/1), which was once thought to be the clear leader in the race. Other contenders include “BlacKkKlansman” (12/1) and Marvel superhero film “Black Panther” (16/1), while “Bohemian Rhapsody” (20/1) and “Vice” (50/1) are given little chance of walking away with the golden statue.

Other Oscars categories could also have enough suspense to attract bettors who think they know whose name will be called during the awards show. Rami Malek (4/9) and Christian Bale (7/4) are expected to have a close fought battle for Best Actor, while Bradley Cooper (12/1), Viggo Mortensen (25/1) and Willem Dafoe (50/1) will hope to pull off an unlikely surprise.

Some of the awards could be less competitive. Alfonso Cuaron (1/12) is the runaway pick for Best Director for his work on Roma, with only Spike Lee (8/1) given any real chance of causing an upset in that category. Meanwhile, Glenn Close (1/5) is expected to beat out Olivia Colman (9/2) and Lady Gaga (8/1) for Best Actress, Mahershala Ali (1/5) is the clear choice for Best Supporting Actor, and Regina King (2/5) is the leader for Best Supporting Actress ahead of Amy Adams (2/1).

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