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Online, mobile put NJ at forefront of sports betting

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Now that legal sports wagering is up and running in New Jersey, industry insiders predict an even stronger surge of new money will be flowing in with the introduction of online and mobile betting resources.

In July, the first full month of legalized wagering in the state, New Jersey sports books took in $40.7 million, according to the Division of Gaming Enforcement – and that’s without online and mobile.

“The sports wagering results illustrate the popularity and potential of this new revenue stream,” said DGE Deputy Chief of Financial Investigations Christopher Glaum. “When more operators are added to the market, internet sports wagering continues its rollout and the football season begins, we believe sports wagering revenue is poised for significant growth going forward.”

The new numbers come as several of the state’s casinos are still getting their ducks in a row. In mid-July, five casinos submitted applications to the state to operate sports books.

Caesars Entertainment applied for in-person sports betting at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City and Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino, with the latter also servicing the nearby Caesars Atlantic City.

The Golden Nugget Atlantic City applied for in-person and mobile sports betting and took its first bets Aug. 15, the same day Resorts Casino Hotel began taking in-person wagers.

As of mid-July, during the rush of last-minute applications, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and Ocean Resort Casino, as well as the Monmouth Park and Meadowlands racetracks, had already begun operating sports books.  

New applications

Many in the betting business now are looking to New Jersey to lead the way in online and mobile sports betting.

Resorts was the first in the state to roll out mobile and online sports betting through its partnership with DraftKings, which officially went live Aug. 6.

An app called DraftKings Sportsbook allows someone to place bets anywhere in New Jersey, giving that industry a leg up from traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, and making the Garden State a destination.

“If you’re in Manhattan and you jump on the New Jersey Transit, in 20 minutes you can be in Hoboken and sports betting on your phone,” said Matt Kalish, co-founder of DraftKings.

The app uses geolocations so bets can only be placed in New Jersey and not after someone crosses a border into neighboring states.

And, Kalish added, the app offers features not typically available for in-person wagering.

“We have products like cash-out, where at any point in time you can cash out your bet and the expected value of that bet in a real-time basis,” he said.

And, Kalish added, “If you missed the start of the game, you can still bet on it.”

“The sports wagering results illustrate the popularity and potential of this new revenue stream. When more operators are added to the market, internet sports wagering continues its rollout and the football season begins, we believe sports wagering revenue is poised for significant growth going forward.”

— Christopher Glaum, NJ Department of Gaming Enforcement.

An analysis by DGS Media and NJOnlineGambling.com suggests that although Nevada remains the leader in in-person gambling, New Jersey is getting a leg up on the online sports betting market.

“In Nevada, well, online sports betting is just terrible,” said Adam Small, president and chief analyst at DGS Media. “You can make bets on mobile apps, sure, but a requirement to register in person at a casino limits the growth potential.”

And Delaware, despite being the first state to roll out sports betting following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year, is “not really a threat,” Small said.

“But we would all agree that New York or California would be,” he added, though the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford might at least be able to give New York a run for its money.

“I think they’ll always kind of be on the leading edge,” Kalish said of New Jersey. “They jumped on the regulations pretty quickly. They put out draft regulations, kind of finalized them pretty quickly.”

And the fact that New Jersey has experience regulating casinos, Kalish said, “gives them a really good foundation as well to understand how to regulate their gaming product.”

Matt Primeaux, senior vice president of strategy and operations at The Stars Group USA, the second mobile and online sports betting business to set up shop in New Jersey – also through a partnership with Resorts – agreed the state was ahead of the game with its regulatory framework.

“The role of New Jersey at the vanguard of regulated online gaming in the States can’t be overstated,” Primeaux said. “The state was a first-mover in adopting a robust licensing regime and was instrumental in overturning a nearly 30-year ban on sports betting.”

Primeaux said the DGE has created a “safe and effective environment for operators to do business in and players to play in.”

“It has created an industry that’s grown each year since launch, has buoyed the land-based casino industry in the process, created jobs and contributed millions in taxation for residents,” he said.

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