Last year was a hallmark for U.S. sports bettors, especially those wagering in New Jersey. The Garden State has become the pinnacle for sports betting in the nation, particularly at online sportsbooks, and its journey to the top has created many landmark moments in state sports betting.
New Jersey Beats PASPA
For years, in a battle initiated by former Gov. Chris Christie, New Jersey fought hard to legalize sports betting in the Garden State. Nearly $9 million in legal fees later, on May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court upended the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), legalizing sports betting in the U.S. by turning control back to the states. Many states have since introduced sports betting, but none more aggressively than New Jersey.
First Sports Bets Placed in New Jersey
The next month after PASPA was overturned, on June 13, 2018, Monmouth Park partnered with famed sportsbook William Hill, and the Monmouth Park Sportsbook was ready to take wagers. Gov. Phil Murphy made the first two legal sports bets in New Jersey at Monmouth Park. He wagered on Germany to win the World Cup and the New Jersey Devils to secure next year’s Stanley Cup.
The Bill is Finally Signed
It was somewhat ironic that Gov. Murphy made the first legal sports bets in New Jersey since he initially slowed down the process. After PASPA was overturned, Monmouth Park was ready to receive sports bets that month but was warned that they would be fined if they launched the sportsbook before the bill was signed.
Murphy initially showed enthusiasm but was slow to sign the new bill legalizing sports betting in New Jersey. He insisted that he wasn’t procrastinating but just wanted to do it right. Eventually, the bill was signed on June 11, 2019.
Professional Sports Sponsorship
A partnership between a professional sports team and a sportsbook was once unimaginable. The battle led by New Jersey to successfully overturn PASPA opened the door nationwide for professional sports to sponsor major casinos and sportsbooks. The New Jersey Devils have since formed partnerships with William Hill and Caesars, and the New York Jets have aligned themselves with 888casino. The Jets became the first NFL team to renew its betting affiliation in September 2019.
New Jersey Becomes the New Sports Capital
Just one year after PASPA was overturned, in May 2019, New Jersey accomplished the unimaginable: It took in more sports bets than any other state, including Nevada and its impressive Las Vegas sportsbooks.
New Jersey took in $318.9 million in sports bets in May, beating Las Vegas by $1.5 million. They remained No. 1 in June and July, and The Garden State’s figures continued to increase in August. Over the last year, New Jersey raked in nearly $3 billion in sports bets, creating approximately $200 million in revenue.