No doubt, Lindsay Slader said, online traffic in New Jersey has “increased significantly” over the past year.
It stands to reason.
Picture a map of the Garden State, though. The hotspots of online wagers made do not start near Atlantic City and expand toward the borders.
Quite the opposite, according to Slader, VP of regulatory affairs for GeoComply, a geolocation company used to ensure gambling occurs within state lines.
Instead, Slader said in a phone interview, the overwhelming majority of online gambling occurs within 10 miles of surrounding state borders.
Map of NJ online gambling tells a tale
GeoComply performs geolocation for all NJ online gambling operators, including online casinos. The company, though, does not collect personal information like those operators, who request customer names, addresses and Social Security numbers, among other things to determine the eligibility of users to use those products.
Rather, to GeoComply, all users remain anonymous. They instead generate identification numbers, of sorts, that pop up on the geolocation map.
Regardless, what GeoComply has found still tells quite the story for online gambling in the Garden State.
According to Slader, approximately 80 percent of all geolocation hits in New Jersey — which activates when a user attempts to gamble online — land within 10 miles of the New Jersey border.
Further, Slader estimated that about 44 percent of users pop up within 2 miles of the state line.
As such, Slader said, “if an operator doesn’t have a suitable geolocation system” to allow for users to participate near the border, “then you can really lose out on a huge percentage of your market close to those borders.”
Customers coming from New York, Pennsylvania
Populous areas, such as New York City and Philadelphia, surround New Jersey. Within those dense crowds reside some of the most avid fan bases in America, a population who are champing at the bit to participate in sports betting.
Out-of-state customers making their daily commutes to work might place some wagers while traveling into New Jersey. Perhaps they divert from their routes to do so.
The New York Post recently provided an example of a Harlem resident who makes a 35-minute bike ride from home just to step foot in New Jersey to place a few bets.
“They’ll make the trip over,” Slader said, “walk over a bridge or hop on a train and stand in the station in Jersey City, then turn back around once they’re done placing their bets.”
According to Slader, customers near the state line are subject to more frequent geolocation. Some operators, she added, have bumped geolocation checks to earlier in the experience (upon user log-in, for example, or deposit) to allow for quick and accurate location.
FanDuel noted that 10 percent of its online customers claim New York as their home state. DraftKings gave the New York Post a similar figure. Additionally, 3 percent of FanDuel’s customers hail from Pennsylvania. A resounding 85 percent of FanDuel users live in New Jersey.
How competing markets could affect map
Customers frequently make quick trips by getting enough inside the New Jersey state line to participate in NJ online gambling.
“It’s very much part of the betting experience,” Slader said, “for people close to those borders.”
What happens, though, if New York gets its sports betting industry started? What happens now that Pennsylvania has launched its first operations? And what’s the effect when the state provides the go-ahead for online sports betting products in the spring?
Logically, it would seem, those near-border hits will decrease, right? Slader is not so sure.
“I don’t know if it’s going to change,” she said, “because we don’t know how the product will differ between the PA operators and the NJ operators and who the people are that we locate.
“Certainly for some players in PA who currently shuttle to NJ to place their bets, they may do so less frequently when they have easier options from their side of the border; but it may well be that the products are differentiated enough between PA and NJ operators that there is still some ‘shopping and hopping’ from players wishing to get the best of both worlds.”