Despite it only being legalized 18 months ago, sports betting has exploded across New Jersey, making the state a high rolling rival to the famed sportsbooks of Nevada, and moving it into a dominant industry position nationwide. The landmark ruling of the Supreme Court, legalizing sports betting in New Jersey has meant that many other states have followed suit, but none can keep up with the pace set by the Garden State. Business is well and truly booming, not only benefitting the bookmakers but also the state government. And it isn’t just residents hoping to win big, sports betting is another big draw for tourists, who can now gamble on football, basketball and baseball in Atlantic City, and at the casinos and racetracks statewide. For residents, sports betting couldn’t be easier – online gambling has been legal in New Jersey since 2013, and online and mobile apps are growing in popularity with the betting crowds.
Breaking Nevada’s monopoly
New Jersey has always played second fiddle to the mighty casinos in Las Vegas and across the state of Nevada. However, since the landmark ruling in May 2018, legalizing sports betting, the industry has boomed in New Jersey, regularly eclipsing Nevada in terms of month-by-month figures. In fact, New Jersey’s pace is growing at an amazing speed, close to 100% year-over-year. October 2019 saw New Jersey sportsbooks turn over close to $500 million – a rise of 87% from the same month last year. Nevada’s monopoly has been well and truly broken, and things don’t look like slowing down any time soon – the popularity of sports other than football in New Jersey means that the market is also broader.
In 2013, New Jersey passed legislation to allow online gambling in the state. Now, with the legalization of sports betting, online gambling is set to become more popular than ever. More and more punters are opting to place bets from the comfort of their homes or from the convenience of their mobile phone or tablet. Not only is online gambling in New Jersey convenient, it’s also simple and fun to bet on a wide range of sports in a variety of different ways – and punters are responding. By far the most popular form of sports betting in New Jersey is not at the tracks and casinos, but on smartphones: Roughly 80 percent of the bets are made on mobile devices.
Of course, gambling at the casino or the racetrack still holds a timeless appeal. Glamorous surroundings or a rough-and-ready bookies, nothing can quite beat the thrill of placing a bet in person, even if it is being overshadowed by online betting. New Jersey casinos still have a powerful pull on residents and tourists alike and remain classic attractions to experience. Its also been shown that gamblers from neighboring states are flocking to New Jersey to place wagers on sports, and even crossing state lines just to use the mobile/online services (these aren’t available if you’re outside New Jersey). The most popular spots are just across the Hudson River from New York, although it appears many betting fans are riding the PATH from Manhattan to Hoboken, placing bets on their smartphones and returning back.
Wide variety of sports
Part of the reason that sports betting in New Jersey has exploded in such a dramatic fashion is due to the wide variety of sports which are popular in New Jersey. Nevada, the traditional home of sports betting, is a football state. In New Jersey, football is just as popular as it is everywhere else, but as with many areas of the northeast, basketball is huge and so is baseball. Surveys have shown that New Jersey residents are just as likely to lay a bet on the basketball games as they are on the football. Hockey is just as popular – the New Jersey Devils are the only major league sports franchise to bear the Garden State’s name, and the team has been NHL contenders since the 1980s – not to mention the Philadelphia Flyers, an NHL mainstay since the mid-1970s. New Jersey is also soccer-mad, with the deceptively named New York Red Bulls competing in the Eastern Conference of the MSL, based on the waterfront in Harrison. This range of sports means that sports betting in the state has a much broader appeal, and means big business.
Great for the state
New Jersey is seeing myriad economic benefits since the legalization of sports betting. Taxation on wagers brings in multiple millions (encouraging for other states who are considering legalizing) and benefits the economy. Not to mention the increased footfall in the casinos and racetracks. In fact, many racetracks who were in financial straits have seen their fortunes turn around since the legislation. And as the demand for online betting grows, jobs will be created to provide gamblers with the outlets they need.
So, sports betting is breaking market records again and again in New Jersey, and its dominance looks set to continue. Few would have put money on it, but the Garden State looks set to eclipse Nevada as the gambling capital of the USA.