The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement has approved a lot of obscure sporting events for betting over the past few weeks.

It is vital for NJ online sportsbook operators, but not for the reason you might think.

Such operators don’t really expect the NJ sports betting crowd to generate a ton of action on darts and lawn bowling. Of course, it will never replace the level of activity MLB, the NBA, and the NHL would typically create right now.

These markets are more of a means to an end than the actual end for sports betting apps in NJ.

The purpose that obscure sporting events serve for NJ online sportsbooks

Like every business, legal online sportsbooks in NJ need revenue to survive. For example, NJ sportsbooks took in almost half a billion dollars in handle in Feb.

The revenue they are going to get from wagering on these events won’t compare to more popular sports, and they know it. The handle for these events will likely be a mere fraction of its potential.

So why push for the DGE to approve them if they aren’t profitable?

First off, there’s little cost involved in making a request of the DGE for approval for new markets.

Other costs are significant for online sportsbooks, however. One of those significant costs is customer acquisition and retention.

That requires a constant flow of markets for customers to wager upon, which requires a continual flow of sporting events.

Creating markets for these less-popular events may represent a net loss. Even so, it’s still less expensive than having to reacquire the customers, and the sportsbooks would lose if they just stopped creating markets altogether.

This form of marketing is crucial for the state, as well. NJ’s treasury depends on revenue from the billions of dollars gambled each year.

While brick-and-mortar Atlantic City casinos and NJ sports betting operations are shut down, online action becomes even more crucial. Online casinos and sportsbooks are part of that.

Unfortunately for sportsbook operators, this may be the plan for a while. It does not look like the spring sporting events they usually depend on will resume any time soon.

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Major US sports may return in late May

To this point, MLB, the NBA, and the NHL have no concrete plans for resuming their suspended seasons.

The PGA just released a revised tournament schedule for its major events, and they plan on moving everything to the fall.

The Kentucky Derby has been postponed to the Friday before Labor Day, and the Indianapolis 500 will tentatively run on Aug. 23.

The issue also expands past the US.

The English Premier League suspended its season, and the Olympic Committee postponed the next Summer Games until next year.

Even the most optimistic plans could change at any time, however. It’s all based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, availability of facilities, and conflicts with other events.

It could be months before major US sports resume, and even then, there’s no guarantee that they will not suffer further interruptions.

Until then, NJ online sportsbooks will have to keep pushing markets like Belarus Premier Soccer and table tennis hoping, it will be sufficient to keep customers engaged until some form of normalcy returns.


Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. In addition to gaming news, he covers esports, sports business, and sports law. When he isn’t working, he spends his time serving his two Munchkin cat overlords.