For years, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie led a hard-fought battle to legalize sports betting in The Garden State. Thanks to that monumental effort, on May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court reversed the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), legalizing sports betting in the U.S. Just a year later, in May 2019, New Jersey saw more sports bets than any other state, including Nevada and its famed Las Vegas sportsbooks.
From May 2019 to August 2019, in both handle and revenue, New Jersey beat Las Vegas sportsbooks three of the four months. In August alone, The Garden State took in $293.5 million in bets for $25.5 million in revenue, toppling Las Vegas’ $288 million and $18.7 million respectively.
There are two primary reasons why New Jersey sportsbooks are beating Las Vegas: convenience of placing bets and location.
The Ease of Sports Betting in The Garden State
Of the near $300 million sports betting handle New Jersey garnered in August, approximately 85 percent of the bets were made through online sites or apps. Simply put, online betting in New Jersey is fueling this. With 17 online sportsbooks in its market and several more top New Jersey sportsbooks to come, the state is the leading example for legal online sports betting. Expect even bigger numbers for September.
Las Vegas has been slow to embrace online sports betting, taking in only half of its bets from online platforms and offering less online options, leaving bettors standing in line at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
New Jersey is a Prime Location for Sports Bettors
In order to bet legally online in New Jersey, a player must physically be in the state. Of the bets made in August in New Jersey online casinos, 20 percent of them were placed by New Yorkers traveling through the state.
The Garden State is a prime location for the major sports teams from the surrounding area, like the Philadelphia Eagles and Phillies and the New York Jets and Yankees. The massive population of those two major cities, along with their close vicinity, make New Jersey the perfect destination for sports bettors. Even with Pennsylvania legalizing sports betting, New Jersey will likely see some of their potential business because of the precedent they set and their multiple online options.
Sports bettors in Philadelphia and New York can easily commute to New Jersey in about an hour or less to place their bets. In contrast, driving from the closest major city outside of Nevada, Los Angeles, to Las Vegas would take a sports bettor about four hours.
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