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If You Want to (Legally) Bet on the Oscars, Go to New Jersey

It's the first state in the country to allow the practice.

Oscar Statuettes89th Annual Academy Awards, Backstage, Los Angeles, USA - 26 Feb 2017

Oscar Statuettes

H. Walker/REX/Shutterstock

For the first time ever, you can now legally bet on the Oscars — as long as you’re in New Jersey. The Garden State is the first in the country to allow bookies to accept wagers on the Academy Awards, a practice that until now was verboten nationwide. There’s just one catch: You can’t put nearly as much money down on what will win Best Picture tonight as you could on something like the Super Bowl, with some sportsbooks capping individual bets at $500.

“We have customers who aren’t huge sports fans, but enjoy playing games like bingo or roulette with us,” Mattias Stetz, chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive, told the Associated Press. “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.”

RSI runs PlaySugarHouse.com, whose odds have “Roma” edging out “Green Book” as Best Picture, Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Glenn Close (“The Wife”) taking home the two top acting prizes, and Alfonso Cuarón being named Best Director; all of these choices adhere to industry predictions (including IndieWire’s) of what’s most likely to triumph tonight.

Nick Bogdanovich of William Hill told the AP that, as of February 12, 82 tickets had been written. “I don’t know if that’s horrible, great or what because it’s the first go round,” he said of the number. “But I guess 82 tickets is 82 tickets regardless of whether it is on NBA, baseball or whatever. I was just happy that we were able to book it…the more diverse we can get the better.”

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