sports betting history in new jersey
Sports Betting History in New Jersey

Sports gambling may have only recently become legal in New Jersey but it has a long and colorful history in the Garden State. In the early part of the 20th century, most forms of gambling were outlawed in the state. However, there was very little done in the area of enforcement which allowed bookmakers to operate without worrying too much about the consequences. Authorities relaxed the rules in 1939 when betting on horse races became legal and then, about 40 years later, casino gambling also became legal in Atlantic City. While sports betting in New Jersey remained illegal, the back alley and barroom bookies flourished.

Time For A Change in Sports Betting USA

New Jersey’s sports betting scene started to change in 2011 after a referendum concluded that voters in the state were in favor of legalizing sports betting. Governor Chris Christie penned legislation that would legalize sports betting but the NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB fought the decision based on the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. This led Governor Christie to argue in court that the federal government did not have the right to control an individual state’s right to make their own laws. More specifically, he wanted the courts to overturn PASPA. Lo-and-behold, the United States Supreme Court sided with New Jersey and overturned PASPA on May 14th, 2018. This landmark decision means that individual states now have the power to legalize, regulate, and tax sports betting if they choose to.

By the time the Supreme Court tossed PASPA, Phil Murphy had succeeded Chris Christie as New Jersey’s governor and it was Governor Murphy who, on June 14, 2018, went to Monmouth Park and made the first legal sports bet in New Jersey history. He placed a losing $20 bet on Germany to win the World Cup and he also placed a $20 wager on the New Jersey Devils to win the 2018-19 Stanley Cup. On that same day, basketball legend Julius Erving entered the Borgata and put $5 down on the Philadelphia Eagles to win the 2018-19 Super Bowl. And just like that, a new era of legalized sports betting in New Jersey had begun.

It has been nearly eight months since PASPA was overturned and there are now nine retail sportsbooks operating in the state. With PointsBet recently entering the mobile sports betting fray, there are now nine online sports betting sites and more are on the way. Let’s take a chronologically ordered look at all of New Jersey’s land-based and online sportsbooks that are currently up and running as well as some that are expected to open in the coming months.

Borgata Race & Sports Bar (Retail)

The Borgata Race & Sports Bar opened its doors on June 14th, 2018, just one month after PASPA was overturned. The sportsbook is currently situated in a temporary space but there are big plans for a new sportsbook which will undoubtedly be furnished with all the bells and whistles. It has been reported that MGM, which owns Borgata, plans on spending $7 million on the Borgata’s new sportsbook.

Monmouth Park Sportsbook By William Hill (Retail)

Monmouth Park got together with William Hill way back in 2013 and they were ready to open the doors to their sportsbook at the Monmouth Park racetrack on June 14, 2018. For those who are unfamiliar with William Hill, they are one of the most recognized brand names in sports betting having been in business since 1934. Monmouth Park Sportsbook has continued to be one of the biggest revenue generators.

William Hill Sportsbook @ Ocean Resort (Retail)

Revel Casino was re-branded as Ocean Resort after it was purchased in early 2018. With the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey imminent, Oceans Resort formed a partnership with William Hill in May. The casino reopened under its new name on June 28th and it featured a temporary sportsbook. Mark Wahlberg placed the first bet picking none other than the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. A permanent sportsbook is expected to be completed soon and will have plenty of comfortable seating and big-screen televisions galore.

FanDuel Sportsbook (Retail)

Located at the Meadowlands and partnered with Betfair and IGT, the FanDuel Sportsbook opened to the betting public on July 14, 2018. The retail sportsbook immediately saw plenty of action and has produced the highest revenues for retail outlets ever since. It probably helped that FanDuel was a recognizable brand in the region after making a name for themselves by offering daily fantasy sports.

Bally’s (Retail)

Bally’s opened The Wild Wild West Sportsbook on July 30th after their parent company, Caesars Entertainment, formed a partnership with Scientific Games. The sportsbook features eight big screen televisions, a snack bar, beverage service, and it is open seven days a week.

Harrah’s (Retail)

Harrah’s is another property owned by Caesars Entertainment and they opened their sportsbook on August 1st which was two days after Caesars opened their first New Jersey sportsbook at Bally’s. The sportsbook is situated in a temporary location and a permanent sportsbook is in the works.

DraftKings Sportsbook (Online)

After a partnership was formed between Resorts Atlantic City and DFS titan DraftKings, the DraftKings Sportsbook became the first bookmaker in New Jersey to offer their product online on August 6th despite not yet having a retail outlet. DraftKings Sportsbook has accounted for a good chunk of all online sportsbook revenue in New Jersey since it went live.

The Golden Nugget Sportsbook (Retail)

It was only a matter of time before the Golden Nugget got into the sports betting action and they did so when they opened their sportsbook on August 15th. The retail outlet is one of the smaller ones in terms of revenue but it is a well-furnished sportsbook with over 100 seats and over 50 televisions. There are also self-service betting kiosks and food service.

playMGM (Online)

The sportsbook at the Borgata became the second New Jersey bookmaker to launch a mobile betting app when playMGM was launched on August 22, 2018. PlayMGM is powered by IGT and it generated $194,212 in revenue from their online sportsbook in November.

SugarHouse Sportsbook (Online)

SugarHouse became the third online sportsbook in New Jersey on August 23rd and it has quickly become a favorite site among New Jersey’s betting public. SugarHouse is operated by Rush Street Gaming and they were originally planning on partnering with Golden Nugget but they transferred their license to Monmouth Park due to NBA betting restrictions that Golden Nugget operates under.

FanDuel Sportsbook (Online)

The FanDuel Sportsbook launched their online platform on September 1st and it accounted for $4,437, 916 in revenue through November which was second to none. With Meadowlands as their land-based affiliate and IGT and Betfair as betting partners, FanDuel Sportsbook has quickly made its mark and has been the second-leading revenue producer among online sportsbooks in New Jersey since going live.

William Hill (Online)

William Hill is a veteran of the global online sportsbook industry and they made online betting available to New Jersey residents on September 1st with their affiliation with Monmouth. William Hill’s online betting platform produced $1,521,295 in revenue in November and is expected to be a heavyweight in New Jersey’s sports betting market for years to come.

Caesars (Online)

One of the biggest names in the business launched their online sports betting platform on September 6th despite not having a retail outlet on their property. Caesars got together with Scientific Games to launch their new product which is integrated with Caesars online casino.

888Sport (Online)

Another recognizable name from the global online sports betting industry, 888sport, secured an affiliation with Caesars and betting partner Kambi to get a foothold in New Jersey’s sports betting market. They opened their virtual doors on September 10th becoming the seventh online bookmaker in the state.

BetStars (Online)

The Star Group, which owns global poker giant PokerStars, signed a deal with Resorts Atlantic City and launched their online platform on September 13th. They got off to a bit of a shaky start as their betting app was only available for Android but that was quickly rectified as the iOS app was released about a month later.

William Hill Sportsbook at Tropicana Atlantic City (Retail)

Once again, William Hill shows that it is serious about gaining a foothold in the New Jersey sports betting scene. After going into business with Tropicana, the William Hill Sportsbook at Tropicana Atlantic City opened their doors on October 25th making it the eighth retail sportsbook to accept wagers in New Jersey.

DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts (Retail)

DraftKings made quite an impact on the sports betting scene with their online sportsbook. DraftKings expanded their horizons on November 20th when the opened their 5,000-square-foot retail outlet in Resorts Atlantic City. This modern sportsbook features 135 stadium-style seats along with loads of high definition screens.

PointsBet (Online)

PointsBet is an Australian-based bookmaker that signed a partnership deal with Meadowlands Racetrack and they became the latest online sports betting site to go live in New Jersey with their soft launch on December 11th. Land-based casinos and racetrack gambling license holders are permitted to share their licenses with up to three partners and PointsBet is the second for Meadowlands.

The Future of Sports Betting – 2019

Hard Rock Atlantic City (Retail)

It appears that the Hard Rock is on the verge of getting their retail sportsbook operations up and running as they were granted a transactional waiver that will allow them to start accepting sports bets. Hard Rock Atlantic City signed a deal with an affiliate of online gambling giant bet365 last June and they recently partnered with Kindred Group. There is no firm date set for the retail outlet’s opening but it shouldn’t take too long.

Hard Rock Atlantic City (Online)

With the opening of their retail outlet expected to happen in the near future, Hard Rock Atlantic City’s partnership with GiG is in place which means that they will be offering online sports betting very soon. Like their retail plans, there are no set dates but we can expect it to happen in the coming months.

theScore (Online)

Recent reports stated that theScore signed a licensing partnership with Monmouth Park Racetrack which will allow them to offer online sports betting in New Jersey. They must still wait for official approval and licenses from both the Division of Gaming Enforcement and the New Jersey Racing Commission but that appears to be a mere formality and theScore can be expected to go live in the early to mid summer.

To Finalize

More and more sports betting operations are cropping up in New Jersey and a few more are expected to join the fray as license holders look to maximize their sports betting partnerships. The sports betting industry in New Jersey is still in its infancy and there are plenty of other companies that want to get their feet in the door so it is likely that a few more partnerships will be formed.

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