New Jersey on Top: America’s Sports Betting Hub
In recent years, there has been a strong focus across America on the continuous rise of sports betting. The end of the Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, has led to states being permitted to make up their own minds about whether or not to offer sports betting. And since PASPA was overturned, New Jersey has certainly made the decision to build on its extensive heritage as a hub for gamblers.
The state legalized sports betting in June of 2018, and the first few online bets were being placed within days. Since then, its gambling industry has seen a big spike in value – boosted, no doubt, by the fact that sports betting in its near neighbor, New York, remains illegal. The information below will go into more depth about the role of sports betting in the Garden State – and assess whether or not New Jersey will be able to hold its position as time goes on.
NJ and betting: the background
New Jersey was leading the way on betting even before PASPA was overturned. The presence of Atlantic City, which is a nearly 40,000-person municipality located on the coast in Atlantic County, has ensured that gambling is built into the culture of the area. Its casino sector is understood to be worth around $3 billion US dollars, and there are millions of visitors each year. It was formerly just a resort destination where people went for the sea air, but by the time the 20th century got under way, it was the East Coast’s gambling hotspot.
When PASPA was legalized, New Jersey moved fast. The first legal bets were placed within just a few days of the green light being given, and it’s now the case that any racecourse or commercial casino in the entire state can apply for approval to deliver sports betting offers. The industry raked in revenues of around $50.6 million US dollars in November of last year, making it one of the most successful in the country.
Partnerships and teams
But there are also other structural reasons why sports betting is taking hold in New Jersey to such an extent. New Jersey is home to a number of popular sports teams, and there are signs that these might bring their fan bases with them to the sports betting industry, as a ready-made market. A firm from Australia, for example, recently confirmed that it would work alongside the New Jersey Devils ice hockey team to provide wagering options inside Newark’s Prudential Center stadium. And this isn’t the first time that the Devils have made such a decision – in the past, they’ve also paired up with companies such as FanDuel and Unibet. As sports betting grows in popularity, joint ventures such as these are only likely to rise.
Those who have kept a close eye on New Jersey’s rise as a sports betting hub have probably asked themselves this key question from time to time: will the state’s position as the country’s leading betting hub be assailed in the coming years? There’s no way to tell the future, but some have suggested that New Jersey is vulnerable, particularly to states such as Pennsylvania, which has already shown signs of success.
New York, meanwhile, also remains in the spotlight. It is one of the most populated states near New Jersey, and sports betting is still going through the legalization process there – so NJ picks up lots of traffic from frustrated nearby bettors. Whether New Jersey can keep this up if and when New York moves to legalize remains unclear.
And while most Americans are aware of New Jersey’s status as a gambling hotspot, it doesn’t have quite the same historic cachet and marketing pull as Nevada – which, thanks to the presence of the casino center that is Las Vegas, has always had some sports betting exceptions, even when PASPA was in force. Once the pandemic comes to a close, it could well be possible that other states make a marketing push to become known as America’s gambling capital – and then it’ll be all to play for.
With sports betting now firmly in focus in the US, it’s prudent to think about whether New Jersey is likely to remain in the spot it currently holds at the top of the gambling tree. The signs for the state are good: with so much revenue coming in and so many opportunities for partnerships, it’s likely that the state will remain a national example of best practice.