Table tennis, aka ping pong, and other sports were recently approved by the Division of Gaming Enforcement and has since become a regular in the lineup at a couple of New Jersey online sports betting platforms.  

It originates primarily in Russia and Ukraine. Belarusian Extra and Ukrainian Hockey leagues also got the go-ahead, at least through April 20, and are being featured on the wagering board.

They join a list of DGE-blessed wagering events that include:

  • 24 soccer leagues or tournaments (more than baseball, football and basketball combined)
  • 12 rugby tournaments and leagues
  • Lawn bowling
  • Darts
  • Volleyball
  • Cycling
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DGE infuses new betting options into the NJ sports betting scene

The lineup of recent approvals from the DGE would have been more pronounced had the World Snooker Championship not been snookered. It was canceled because of the virus. A similar fate awaits the National Premier Indian League cricket tournament, which is set for April 15.

Nonetheless, the wagering options were approved by the DGE in time for the events to transpire, if they could have been staged.

The infusion of new options addresses a void left by the absence of:

  • The opening of Major League Baseball.
  • The close of hockey’s regular season and its ultra-exciting Stanley Cup playoff season.
  • The NBA season wind-down.

Not to mention the scuttled Masters, rescheduled Kentucky Derby and canceled $12 million Dubai Cup, the second richest event in horse racing behind the $20 million Saudi Cup, which was run Feb. 29.

Operators aggressively adjust their lineups.

The door is open for new offerings and some could thrive, catching on with players in the near- and intermediate-term.

If bettors develop an affinity for a league, team or player, why should that stop once the classic sports return?

Table tennis betting gaining traction

DraftKings Sportsbook already reported a table-tennis parlay hit for more than a couple thousand bucks. How’s that for quick adaptation?

Table tennis does not gain regular exposure in New Jersey. It originates primarily from Russia and Ukraine. But that doesn’t matter to bettors. Show them enough action, let them develop an angle, and they will cash.

The ability of a gambler to unearth a ping pong parlay indicates a major fundamental strength for the industry. Gamblers, and the props, are there.

All they need is medical clearance for the leagues to resume play.

Table tennis may soon become a fertile ground for DraftKings and SugarHouse sportsbooks, which have gained a gaming jump from the sport.

For SugarHouse, this has been the top-wagered sport in Pennsylvania and Indiana for more than a week.

DraftKings reported table-tennis as a powerhouse two weekends back, accounting for 60% of its overall action.

Granted, the overall handle is way down from normal betting times, but table tennis, nonetheless, emerged as a leader in this environment.

The success of this activity in New Jersey may hinge on whether in-game betting for online sportsbook apps is approved. At the moment, only pregame matchups are available. 

In-game betting accounts for roughly 75% of handle, and this will be a necessary addition for operators, especially with neighboring states like Pennsylvania and Indiana already providing it.

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Soccer betting also popular at NJ sportsbooks

Soccer has been another popular selection for sportsbooks in NJ.

The sport has backing from New Jersey bettors, who have long supported soccer in person and in the books, especially in the northern part of the state.

The New York Red Bulls compete in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer (MLS), playing in a 25,000-seat stadium in Harrison.

And Pele, the world’s most celebrated soccer figure of his time, lured thousands of New Jersey fans into his appearances for the New York Cosmos during the 1970s.

The area’s multicultural population brought an additional fever-pitch to soccer, a worldwide game, in New Jersey. Sportsbooks believe that enthusiasm will convert into betting, especially right now.

PointsBet presents Belarus Premier League soccer and Nicaraguan soccer. William Hill showcases soccer in its popular display.

Unified purpose

The DGE and NJ sportsbook operators have found common ground. The synergy has been evident not only during the coronavirus period but when sudden opportunities have emerged.

When DraftKings announced a partnership with the XFL mere days before the league’s opening kickoff in February, wagering became available in New Jersey. That enabled FanDuel and PointsBet to join the sponsorship parade later.

The cooperation has more profound importance now. Operators need to keep gaming fires lit until their blockbuster sports return.

They show resilience, drilling deeper into the sports world in the wake of every canceled league or tournament. Their creativity has been enormous.

For its part, the DGE has a burgeoning NJ online betting industry to protect, which is in the billions annually.

Dave Bontempo

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.