FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2019 file photo, an Oscar statue appears at the 91st Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. A spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said Monday that the awards for cinematography, film editing, makeup and hairstyling and live-action short will be presented off-air. The winning speeches will air later in the broadcast and will also be live-streamed on Oscar.com and the film academy’s social accounts. The plan to change up the format in service of a truncated three-hour runtime was announced in August. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP, File)

New Jersey becomes first US state to take legal Oscars bets

February 12, 2019 - 2:12 pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Are you so sure that Lady Gaga will win an Oscar for her performance in a "Star is Born" that you'd be willing to bet on it?

Now, you can.

New Jersey sportsbooks have become the first in the U.S. to accept wagers on the Oscars after earning state regulatory approval.

The casinos see it as an opportunity to widen their pool of customers.

Mattias Stetz is chief operating officer of Rush Street Interactive, which operates PlaySugarHouse.com in New Jersey. He says the company believes fans of the Oscars may be a new audience of gamblers more used to playing things like bingo or roulette.

Sportsbooks in Nevada have never taken wagers on the event.

"Roma" is the favorite to win in the best picture category at the William Hill and SugarHouse books.

The ceremony is scheduled for Feb. 24.

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Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNO

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