Forefront of Legal US Sports Betting – New Jersey’s Role
One state stands out as one of the leaders who fought for state-rights against a federal ban on sports betting. New Jersey already had a strong casino industry, and there was strong interest in allowing for these businesses to take bets on sporting games without violating federal laws. New Jersey lawmakers stayed the course, and overcame numerous challenges.
In June 2108, less than one month after the US Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports bets, the first legal sports bet was made in the Garden State. As we inch closer to the two-year anniversary of that first bet, here's how we reached this point, plus some other details covering New Jersey sportsbooks.
New Jersey's Best Sports Betting Apps
There are more than a dozen licensed sportsbook apps operating in New Jersey. Some have been more financially successful than others individually, but the mobile sports betting revenue in the state exceeded even the loftiest expectations. Here are the current live sportsbook apps in New Jersey.
DraftKings Sportsbook – We'll start first with the first. In a partnership agreement with Kambi, DraftKings launched the first sportsbook app. One of the two leaders in daily fantasy sports games, DraftKings has catapulted to the top of the mobile betting industry. Since that first bet on August 6, 2018, DraftKings has generated billions in online betting revenue.
BetMGM Sportsbook – The BetMGM was the second app to launch. They pulled the launch trigger 16 days after DraftKings. Their sportsbook app is integrated with their casino and poker operations. You can use BetMGM on mobile or desktop. The app is affiliated with MGM's casino operations.
SugarHouse Sportsbook – The very next day after the BetMGM announcement, SugarHouse sportsbook launched their app. Sugarhouse is affiliated with the same Monmouth Park Racetrack and also linked a sports betting partnership with Kambi.
FanDuel Sportsbook – DraftKing's DFS rival FanDuel was a leg behind their competitor in stepping into the New Jersey sports betting scene. FanDuel was an early player in physical sportsbook operations, but landed an app partnership short thereafter. FanDuel has a linked affiliation with the Meadowlands Racetrack and launched their mobile app on September 1, 2018.
Williams Hill – On the same day that FanDuel launched their mobile sports betting app in New Jersey, Williams Hill did the same. Williams Hill is affiliated with the same Monmouth Racetrack that accepted the state's ceremonial first sports wager.
Caesars – Caesar's has a world-renowned reputation on the Las Vegas Strip. Their longstanding presence on the Atlantic City Boardwalk is equally unmistakable. It came as little surprise that their gaming partnership with Scientific Games and link to their own casino operations made them one of the earliest to launch a sportsbook app on September 6, 2018.
888Sport – September 2018 had the most sportsbook app launches in New Jersey. 888Sports, through an affiliation with the same Caesars Casino in Atlantic City, launched their app. This was the third sportsbook app partnership with Kambi.
FoxBet – It took less than three days for the first major broadcast player to become involved in sports betting. FoxBet has no direct betting partnership, but they are an affiliate of Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corp. FoxBet launched mobile operations on September 13, affiliated with the same Resorts Atlantic City as DraftKings.
PointsBet – PointsBet was the last app to launch in 2018. Like FanDuel, they have a land-based affiliation with the Meadowlands Racetrack. PointsBet doesn't have a direct sports betting partnership, using their own parent company's reputation.
BetAmerica – BetAmerica was one of the first launches of 2019. They are affiliated with the Golden Nugget at Atlantic City with a sports betting partnership of SBTech.
New Jersey Online Sports Betting Overview
Nearly three decades ago, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) became law. It essentially made it a federal crime to bet on sports games at any level. There were a few exceptions, such as Nevada, but more than likely if you bet on sports you committed a crime.
After 17 years of grumbling about how this law no longer addressed its intended purpose, New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak filed a federal lawsuit. It deemed the PASPA unconstitutional, insisting that each state had the right to determine the legality of sports betting on their own.
Lesniak's lawsuit was thrown out of court two years later, but it started a wave of discussions. New Jersey lawmakers did not let the issue die there. Over the next three years Lesniak would introduce the Sports Wagering Act, plus secure the support of five major professional sports leagues.
The target was to overturn the PASPA as unconstitutional. There were federal junctions issued and appeals filed. The next six years were filled with an array of legal filings and more lawsuits. The NFL, MLB and NHL among others, waged their own legal battle against the PASPA.
Lawyers finally got the New Jersey case back in front of the US Supreme Court in June 2017. Just less than one year later, nearly a decade of legal battles ended when the court overturned the PASPA and ruled it unconstitutional.
As the leader in the battle against illegal sports betting, New Jersey has also been a test model for how the new freedoms would work in other states. Almost as soon as the ink dried on the Supreme Court's ruling, New Jersey was off to the races to build a sports betting industry.
Racetracks already in operation were the obvious first place for sportsbooks to begin. Less than a month after the monumental court ruling, Governor Phil Murphy placed the ceremonial first legal bet in the state at the Monmouth Racetrack in Oceanport.
The governor's first bets were losers, but sports' betting has been a huge winner for the Garden State since. By the end of 2018, it was estimated that New Jersey sportsbooks took in over $3 billion in wagers on sporting events.
The challenges were many, most of them coming from federal courts looking to stop any state from making it legal to bet on sports. New Jersey wasn't the only state with an interest in this fight.
However, they were clearly at the forefront, and a key player in something that changed the gambling landscape across the nation. Since June 2018, more than a dozen more states have followed New Jersey's model and written new legislation to make sports betting legal.
There have been a lot of things happen since that first bet slip at Monmouth. Let's talk about who the players have been, and how much winning this battle has meant to New Jersey financially.
Where are New Jersey's Physical Sportsbooks Locations?
New Jersey's online sportsbook revenue has been tremendous, but it all began with physical locations. It's also convenient to place a bet from a handheld device, but there is nothing to match the excitement of betting on games at a sportsbook lounge, watching the action unfold on massive big screen TVs. Here are the current sportsbook locations in New Jersey.
The Moneyline Bar & Book – This was one of two physical locations to open on June 14, 2018. Located at the Borgata casino, The Moneyline Bar & Book is a sports betting partner of IGT. There are comfortable customer lounge areas and full dinner and bar options for customers.
The Monmouth Park Sportsbook by William Hill – On the same day as the Moneyline operation opened its doors; William Hill opened their facility at the Monmouth Park Racetrack. It was the site of the first official sports bet made by the governor. The sportsbook lounge is located inside one of New Jersey's most renowned horse tracks, in operation since 1870.
William Hill Sportsbook at Ocean Resort – Two weeks later, William Hill opened their second physical sports betting location in New Jersey. Located at the spectacular Ocean Resort, the second William Hill sportsbook is also partnered with their own sports betting brand.
FanDuel Sportsbook – One month after the first pair of physical sports betting locations opened, FanDuel opened their doors to sports betters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Partnering BetFair and IGT, FanDuel's physical location helped to build their reputation ahead of launching their successful mobile app.
Wild Wild West Sportsbook – Bally's got in on the sports betting scene by opening up the Wild Wild West Sportsbook on July 30. It is one of the more unique facilities for sportsbooks. The sportsbook lounge is a favorite for socializing, and they partner with Scientific Games.
The Book – Harrah's followed FanDuel's Meadowlands opening two weeks later. The Book partners with Scientific Games. Part of Bally's at Atlantic City, The Book has real-life stadium style seating to enjoy the games you bet on.
DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts – FanDuel's rival in the daily fantasy sports industry waited one month and day to open their own sportsbook in New Jersey. DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts partners with Kambi and SBTech. Within weeks, DraftKings operation proved a huge driving force behind their statewide most successful sports betting app.
The Sportsbook – On the same day, August 15, that DraftKings opened their sportsbook, the Golden Nugget announced the grand opening of The Sportsbook inside their world-famous casino. The Sportsbook also uses SBTech as their sports betting partner. The only drawback to betting at the Golden Nugget is that you cannot bet on NBA games due to owner conflict.
William Hill Sportsbook at Tropicana – On October 25, 2018, William Hill opened their third physical sportsbook location in New Jersey. Inside the Tropicana casino resort, William Hill placed multiple betting kiosks throughout the resort. The physical sportsbook is located in the North Tower casino.
Hard Rock Sportsbook – The Hard Rock is the only current sportsbook operation to partner with the Gaming Innovation Group. They opened in late January 2019. The Hard Rock facility was originally the Trump Taj Mahal and is located on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City.
New Jersey Betting Revenue
New Jersey's total sports betting take has surpassed $3 billion since the first bet in 2018. The amount of state revenue sports betting would generate has been greater than even the loftiest projection could have imagined.
Many knew sports betting in a state with a large casino and racetrack industry would be successful. The foundation for sports betting in New Jersey was solid. But, what seemed to be potentially lucrative for state revenue counters has turned into a windfall.
Sports betting generated over $300,000 in tax revenue in July 2018 alone. This was only the first full month of operations. These numbers have climbed steadily with but a few drops during lean times in the professional sports schedule.
Now these numbers have grown to amounts that boggle the mind. Sports betting revenue in New Jersey since the first launch in 2018 is inching closer to a half a billion dollars. State tax coffers have been filled with more than $50 million in tax dollars.
This is simply the tip of an iceberg. January's reports have already pushed total state revenue projections for 2020 higher than last year. New Jersey's collective physical locations and mobile operations came in just under $7 million in revenue with over a half a million in tax monies generated.
How Has New Jersey Benefited from Sports Betting?
The earliest benefits to the state from legal sports betting were solely monetary. In the first few months, the state would begin to see the intrinsic benefits attached to being the first state outside of Nevada to welcome sports bettors.
The tourism and travel industry reported a huge increase in business during the last half of 2018. In July alone, New Jersey took in more than $40 million in sports wagers split between two racetracks and three casino sportsbooks.
Beginning in October 2018, New Jersey's sports betting numbers rocketed up more than 87 percent during a one-year period. In October 2019, New Jersey sportsbooks reported more than $500 million in sports betting wagers.
The attraction of sports betting also helped raise the casino traffic in the state. Racetracks were barely breaking even during the last year leading up to the first sports wager. Since, both racetrack and casino traffic in the state have risen dramatically.
Anything in New Jersey that benefits from the state's budget has benefited in some way. Tax dollars have been used to improve schools, roads and other aspects of New Jersey's infrastructure. It has proved a win-win for sports fans and New Jersey residents alike.
Who Can Bet on Sports in New Jersey?
There are a couple factors that determine who can bet on sports in New Jersey. One is age, and the second involves location. If you're 21-years-old or older, you meet criteria number one. The second deserves a little more explanation.
Some mistakenly assume that you need to be a New Jersey resident to bet on sports. That's not accurate. While anyone who lives in New Jersey can bet on sports in New Jersey, your residency has no bearing on whether or not you can bet on sports.
The rule is that you must be in the state. That means you could be from Europe visiting the United States and if you're in New Jersey you can place bets sporting contests. There isn't a residency requirement to bet in New Jersey, just a geographical location requirement.
This inside the state border requirement, and the slow process in which neighboring New York State legalized sports betting, is why millions of revenue dollars navigated their way across state lines.
Once New Jersey legalized sports betting, it was actually rather surprising that New York's lawmakers took as long they did to open sportsbook options to their residents. Prior to launching the first online sportsbook app it's estimated New York handed New Jersey upwards of $100 million in sports betting revenue.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Sports Betting
New Jersey was the first state to open the doors to sports bettors after the May 2018 US Supreme Court's overturning of a federal ban. Until the Garden State took its first bet the following month, Nevada was the capital of US sports betting. Since, New Jersey has opened more than a dozen physical sportsbooks and launched close to 20 sportsbook apps, propelling them as a leading location for sports betting enthusiasts.
Last year was a tremendous financial success for New Jersey sports betting. All entities, land-based and online operations, had nearly $5 billion in handle. From this total bet number, close to $300 million in revenue was generated. This equated to over $30 in state tax benefits.
There are two tax rates for New Jersey sports betting operations. Physical land-based operations are taxed at 8.5 percent. Mobile or online sports betting have a 13 percent tax rate on all revenue.
The New Jersey sports betting handle has surpassed $6 billion. Combined handle of the sportsbook apps and physical locations is projected to go over $7 million in the middle of the 2020 NCAA men's basketball tournament.
The New Jersey sports betting fee is associated with the casino licensing fees article 13:69A-9.4. The initial sports betting license fee is a minimum of $100,000. Subsequent renewals are at least this amount based on undetermined state considerations such as enforcement.
You can bet on college sports in New Jersey. There are exceptions. You cannot bet on any college team with a campus inside the New Jersey borders. This includes schools such as Rutgers, Princeton and Seton Hall.
FanDuel is one of the leaders in the sports betting market in New Jersey. The DFS giant started fast, but still fell behind rival DraftKings early on. In recent months, FanDuel has surpassed all mobile sportsbooks in the state for wagers.
DraftKings was one of the early leaders in sports betting across the state. Their name brand and market share of the DFS industry helped propel them as the early leader in mobile app betting. They have since lost the lead, but still hold as one of the most profitable sports betting options in New Jersey.
This a little about the history behind how one state helped to overturn a federal ban against sports betting. The projections for revenue profits were modest, but the reality has far exceeded those expectations. There may not be a lot of room for new players in the state's sports betting market. However, New Jersey has been a model for new state's welcoming sports betting legislation.