Sports Betting Coming Up Roses in Garden State

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An overall general view of atmosphere at the opening of William Hill Sports Book at Tropicana Atlantic City in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for William Hill US/AFP.

New Jersey was at the tip of the spear as they led the charge to overturn PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992, that allowed states, and not the federal government, to decide whether to offer sports betting within their boundaries. Now they are reaping the benefits – big time.

Billion Dollar Baby

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released September’s combined handles at the nine casinos and three racetracks that accept sports bets. The numbers were staggering, as New Jersey became the first state in the nation to take in more than a billion dollars in sports wagers in one month.

Ironically, that month had only 30 days and this is one record that is expected to have a short shelf life as people become more aware of the advent of sports betting, not only in New Jersey but in the 23 other states and districts currently offering it. But the folks in New Jersey are leading the way and the numbers don’t lie.

The Garden State also set the previous record of $996 million in total wagers set in December of last year.

“Atlantic City is enjoying a strong recovery,” said James Plousis, chair of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. ”Compared to pre-pandemic September 2019, last month’s results were impressive. Casino win grew more than 10% and total gaming revenue was more than 43% above pre-pandemic levels. Total gaming revenue eclipsed $3 billion for the year, a level last reached in November 2019.”

Over the first nine months of 2021, gross revenues have topped $7 billion and the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford has experienced a renaissance since sports betting was enacted. Of the $82 million in profit, after deducting expenses including winning tickets, that the casinos and racetracks experienced in the banner month of September, the Meadowlands accounted for half of that total.

The domestic betting markets are soaring and the revenues derived are not only propping up struggling casinos and bedraggled horse tracks but are giving a much-needed shot in the arm to the coffers of the municipal governments involved in the sports betting industry.

It has been a win-win all the way around and the fact that it took former Governor Chris Christie to test the federal law at the highest judicial levels speaks volumes for what he accomplished before ceding control to his successor, Phil Murphy.

Murphy took the torch and brought it home by getting the archaic law overturned and giving states the right of self-determination regarding all things sports betting. Looking forward, there is plenty of optimism regarding the future of sports betting not only in New Jersey but in all jurisdictions that currently offer it, as well as the many that are considering it.

Moreover, licensed sports betting groups like DraftKings have become major employers of experienced software engineers and developers to ticket takers. Corporations create jobs and this burgeoning industry is no different. It won’t be long before another record is broken leading to more revenue generated, and hopefully more jobs as well.