Will New Jersey Always Wear The Sports Betting Crown?

New Jersey did it again.

For the third time in four months, total bets in NJ sports betting topped the performance of Nevada’s sportsbooks.

The August number out of the Garden State came in at $294 million.

The Silver State reported $288 million.

Is New Jersey destined to lead the US sports betting market? Or just dominate on the East Coast?

Well, it all starts with NJ online gambling and 17 sportsbook apps.

Dialing up NJ online sports betting

When talking about the amount wagered (or handle); New Jersey’s mobile operators are absolutely crushing it.

The year-to-date online handle currently sits at $2 billion.

Retail, on the other hand, accounts for $460.3 million of the business.

Keep in mind, the current NFL and college football betting season includes several new products for the NJ sports betting crowd.

Since late August, three new and two rebranded apps have launched. They are:

The bottom line is the New Jersey market is still growing. With 80%+ of bets going online, the addition of more apps now and in the future will only fortify that growth.

That’s not to say that Nevada doesn’t have mobile betting, but its regulations do not allow for remote sign-up of betting apps. This limits the online dominance considerably. And gives New Jersey an edge.

DraftKings and FanDuel set the sports betting table

DraftKings Sportsbook made history back in August 2018 by launching NJ’s first mobile sports betting app. The product operates under the Resorts Digital umbrella (with Fox Bet and Resorts Sportsbook).

And since that summer launch, the Boston-based company has watched the numbers climb past those in Nevada.

New Jersey took the crown for the first time in May.

And in July, the Garden State flirted with Nevada’s all-time record again.

When asked if he is surprised about New Jersey topping Nevada in handle for the third time, Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations for DraftKings, said he is “not surprised at all.”

“The product we offer the NJ residents is paramount so in my opinion, it’s the best place to wager on sports in the country,” said Avello.

He did note that Nevada has a population of 3 million compared to 9 million in NJ.

And the market-leading FanDuel Sportsbook (under the Meadowlands Racetrack license) continues to play a major role as well.

Kevin Hennessy, a spokesman for FanDuel Group, said sports betting in New Jersey continues to surpass all of the company’s expectations.

“We have a great product that offers customers an unsurpassed sports experience and that is what has made it the No. 1 online sportsbook in New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” he said.

For August alone, the Meadowlands reported $11.8 million in sports betting revenue (a portion of it is from PointsBet NJ). The majority of betting revenue, $9.3 million, came via online.

Resorts Digital claimed the distant No. 2 spot with $6.7 million.

NY’s loss continues to be NJ’s gain

The other side of the coin, of course, is that New Jersey operators continue to benefit from the business coming out of the New York City area where there are more than 8 million residents.

Retail sports betting is available in NY, but the casinos that are currently offering it are more than a three-hour drive from the city.

FanDuel operates out of Tioga Downs. The Meadowlands location, on the other hand, is less than 10 miles from the Lincoln Tunnel.

Plus New York state does not have mobile sports betting. At least not yet. So, all customers need to do is cross the George Washington Bridge or one of the tunnels to place those bets.

As a result, New York’s loss is FanDuel’s gain.

Hennessy said there is no doubt the scenario benefits New Jersey.

“We have 20% of our online customers coming from New York. Our retail space at the Meadowlands Racetrack has more than 50% of the retail market, and a good reason for that is being a stones throw away from the New York border.”

New York may be bigger, but New Jersey has its numbers.

New Players get up to $3,000 bonus at FanDuel Sportsbook
No Sweat First Bet
Big Game Promo: Up to $3,000 No Sweat First Bet
Available on Desktop, Android & iOS  
To Claim: Click Play Now

But should New Jersey fear Pennsylvania?

If we add Pennsylvania to the equation, things get a bit dicier for NJ’s East Coast sports betting crown. One train of thought is the Keystone State could eventually overtake New Jersey.

They are a much bigger state and have a population of more than 12 million.

Plus there are 12 casinos (with another under construction). The NJ sports betting field consists of nine casinos and two racetracks.

Pennsylvania also recently launched online sports betting, and there are currently five apps on the market.

Thanks to the addition of FanDuel, the PA handle for August came in at $109 million.

The big difference is the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement permits each license holder to have three online skins.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board currently limits the online skins to one per license holder. That does give them 12 possible apps by the time the market is in full launch.

So clearly, the two neighboring states have what it takes to be the sports betting beast of the East.

When asked if New Jersey is set up for long-term dominance over a bigger state such as PA, Avello declined to make any long-term predictions.

However, he did offer up this thought:

“I do not want to speculate who will have the biggest sports handle down the road, but I will say the Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey has been aggressive and open to new ideas, which has been a difference maker,” Avello said.

Until another state knocks down the champs, the sports betting handle title belongs to New Jersey. With football season in full betting mode, it’s likely Nevada will regain that crown in the months ahead.

In any case, the next round will be decided later this month.

About the Author

Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.