Sports betting in the state of New Jersey began in 2018. Since its inception, it has become the clear #2, behind Nevada, as the best state for sports bettors.
The Garden State offers the most sports betting options outside of Nevada, including more than 17 locations between online/mobile and brick-and-mortar betting platforms. Dozens more are expected to open up in 2019.
With over $1 billion in sports betting handle in 2018 providing a state revenue of over $72 million, New Jersey has proven that there is indeed money to be made for the states that offer some form of legalized US sports betting to its residents.
How Sports Betting Became Legal In New Jersey
Legal sports betting in New Jersey was a process that spanned nearly ten years. New Jersey tried to legalize sports betting way back in 2009. As a result, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie became involved in a lawsuit with the five major sports leagues in the US, the NCAA, MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL.
Newly elected Governor Phil Murphy replaced Christie on the docket in 2018 when he took office.
New Jersey argued that sports betting should be a matter of the state’s rights under the 10th Amendment. The leagues argued with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 as the grounds to prohibit state-regulated sports betting.
New Jersey passed a sports betting bill in 2012, which resulted in the leagues filing an injunction.
New Jersey lost its first District Court battle, followed by two more in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. All of those rulings went against the state of New Jersey and in the league’s favor, which prompted the state to resort to its last option, appeal to the US Supreme Court.
In a surprise decision, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments from both sides. Their decision to hear the case was a small victory for the state of New Jersey, as SCOTUS only takes on a small percentage of the cases presented to it.
The historic decision came on May 14, 2018, when SCOTUS decided in favor of New Jersey, fully striking down PASPA. The 6-3 majority decision was penned by Justice Samuel Alito.
Less than a month after the ruling, Governor Murphy signed an updated New Jersey sports betting bill into law on June 11, 2018.
Where Can I Bet In New Jersey?
Legal sportsbooks exist both at casinos and tracks, as well as online and via mobile apps throughout the state. As of the start of 2019, there are eight online and mobile options for New Jersey sports bettors. The eight online sports betting platforms are:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- BetStars NJ Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
- SugarHouse Sportsbook
- William Hill Sportsbook
The list of available online and mobile sports betting platforms is expected to increase by dozens by the end of 2019.
Aside from mobile and online options, there are a number of brick-and-mortar locations for sports bettors to make their wagers. While it is assumed that nearly every casino in the state of New Jersey will eventually offer sports betting, these are the sportsbooks that are up and running as of early January 2019:
- The Meadowlands
- Golden Nugget
- Monmouth Park
- Ocean Resort Casino
- Resorts AC
Caesers, Freehold Raceway and Hard Rock AC are a few locations that are expected to have sportsbooks up and running at some point in early 2019.
Resorts AC and DraftKings Sportsbook/BetStars/SBTech
Resorts AC has multiple sports betting partnerships. DraftKings launched its full sportsbook on August 6, 2018. DraftKings provides both an online and app-based sportsbook, and in November 2018 announced it will operate the retail sportsbook inside the Resorts AC, its first brick-and-mortar implementation.
Resorts has been the most active of all the Atlantic City casinos, being the first to use up its allotment of three online brands. The casino expanded on its long-standing partnership with The Starts Group back in August to include sports betting. The two have been partners for years, offering NJ online poker and casino platforms under the PokerStars brand.
BetStars launched its sportsbook September 13, 2018, while the iOS app launched in October.
Resorts has even set up a new partnership with SBTech. The retail sportsbook opened on property in early August 2018.
Borgata and PlayMGM
The Borgota launched on property sports betting on June 14, 2018. A couple months later, via the playMGM sports betting app, they started offering online wagering.
Although the timeline is uncertain as of January 2019, the Borgota has stated that they are investing $7 million on a new standalone sportsbook. Borgota is owned by MGM, which provides mobile betting in Nevada via the playMGM app as well. MGM has recently formed a new partnership with GVC and Boyd Gaming, which will lead to more branded sports betting apps across multiple states, New Jersey included.
Monmouth Park and William Hill
Monmouth Park made its sports betting plans way back in 2013 when it partnered with William Hill. The William Hill mobile app eventually launched in September 2018. Five years after their initial partnership, Monmouth Park opened the state’s first sportsbook and printed the first legal ticket on June 14, 2018. SugarHouse joined the Monmouth Park family in October 2018 as a license partner.
Monmouth Park has yet to set a date for online/mobile sports betting.
Meadowlands Racetrack and FanDuel Sportsbook
Located near the New York border and MetLife Stadium, the Meadowlands Racetrack is the envy of all other sportsbooks in New Jersey. Until New York decides to legal sports betting themselves, the Meadowlands will continue to profit from New York residents traveling across state lines to place their bets with them.
Meadowlands recently entered a long-term partnership with Betfair US, the domestic chapter of Paddy Power Betfair. PPB acquires FanDuel to serve as the face of its US products. The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack opened on July 14, 2018.
FanDuel Sportsbook online and mobile platform launched on September 1, 2018.
Ocean Resort Casino and William Hill
Ocean Resorts Casino sportsbook operations are powered and branded by William Hill US. Meaning that ORC is likely on the same uncertain, but not far off timeline that Monmouth Park is on, in regards to online/mobile sports betting.
Hard Rock Atlantic City
After its grand opening back in June 2018, Chairman Jim Allen said that the Hard Rock would indeed be in the business of sports betting. Due to its relationship with the Miami Dolphins and the NFL, the Hard Rock Atlantic City is subject to some additional restrictions. Therefore, the HRAC will need a third-party to manage the action.
HRAC formed a new partnership with Bet365 back in July 2018. They also partnered up with Kindred Group, which is known for its Unibet brand.
In October 2018, Gaming Innovation Group announced that they signed a letter of intent to power the Hard Rock platforms. The partnership covers both on property retail sports betting as well as online and mobile platforms.
Caesers, Bally’s, Harrah’s
Caesers opened brick-and-mortar sports betting locations at Bally’s and Harrah’s. After Caesers partnered up with Scientific Games, they added sportsbooks functionality to its existing NJ online casino app on September 6, just before the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
Under Caesars’ casino license, the mobile 888 Sportsbook launched that following Monday. The 888 iOS app went live on October 20, 2018.
Eldorado Resorts runs the gaming operations for the Tropicana. They recently entered into a partnership with William Hill for operations. Their on-site sportsbook opened in October 2018.
New Jersey Sports Betting Results From 2018
In the first completed calendar year with legal sports betting, New Jersey put up some serious numbers. Both the state’s handle and gross revenue for 2018 have been everything that the state could have hoped for.
YTD Completed Events Handle:
- Football: $501,037,729
- Basketball: $191,516,801
- Baseball: $157,747,457
- Parlay: $203,025,209
- Other: $183,959,397
- Total: $1,237,286,593
YTD Completed Events Gross Revenue:
- Football: $22,255,025
- Basketball: $10,433,390
- Baseball: $4,614,701
- Parlay: $22,539,991
- Other: $12,235,989
- Total: $72,079,096
Altogether, New Jersey sportsbooks held 5.8 percent of all wagers on completed events. Nevada sportsbooks traditionally hold in the range of 5 percent. That puts New Jersey slightly ahead of Nevada in terms of revenue percentage on bets placed, during their first year in operation.