With Most Sports In Hibernation, DGE Approves New NJ Sports Betting Options

The DGE recently approved table tennis and other sports at NJ online sports betting platforms to help fill the void from a season of canceled sports.

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.

With A Twiddle And A Twirl, Table Tennis Betting Is Coming To NJ Sportsbooks

New Jersey Gambling Sites learned DGE recently approved betting on table tennis at SugarHouse Sportsbook. SugarHouse could have it up as soon as today.

No, gamblers won’t get the rush of Opening Day for MLB today. While not a substitute, the MLB is trying to soften the blow with #OpeningDayAtHome.

But here comes … wait for it … table tennis.

Table tennis, a game revolving around a small ping-pong ball, will soon be on the board at SugarHouse Sportsbook in New Jersey.

New Jersey Gambling Sites learned the Division of Gaming Enforcement gave their blessing early this week for its unveiling, according to a source from Rush Street Interactive. Rush Street operates properties in three states:

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Indiana

Table tennis has already become the leading sports wagered at those properties that are already offering it. SugarHouse intends to be up and running Thursday in New Jersey, if not soon thereafter.

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Betting on table tennis at one NJ sportsbook

New Jersey sports betting fans can pick up the flight of the ball, read body language and sense momentum swings.

New Jersey will allow pre-match wagers to start. 

Efforts could be expanded later to obtain in-game betting, which provides significant additional revenue. 

That would not be surprising, given that each state wants to encourage as much operator profit and thus tax revenue as possible. But for now, table tennis has at least gotten onto the board at NJ sportsbooks.

SugarHouse has been helped with the TT Cup and Setka Cup,  two of the major table-tennis tournaments wagered upon this week.

The events were  live-streamed on the official organizers’ websites, links which the operator also has shared with its players.

Expect more operators to find the table-tennis niche if professional leagues remain on the sideline and Atlantic City casinos remain closed.

Table tennis betting an interesting alternative

Table tennis is ideal for betting. The sport moves quickly enough to keep bettors and spectators interested.

There is a healthy abundance of games, every day. They will run most afternoons and throughout the entire evening.

The average time of scoring one point in table tennis is between four and eight seconds and the duration of the game is one-to-three minutes.

There are plenty of chances to crank up the next betting opportunity and do some handicapping by following a particular player from one match to the next. Winners from one day usually return the next.

Most table-tennis matches are five games. Each requires 11 points to win and victory must be by at least two points. The majority of matchups are best-of-five battles.

The events feature substantial in-game betting opportunities to go with the moneyline, point spread, game-by-game, and point races already established.

Table tennis has the same characteristics as tennis but moves faster. Changes in momentum are significant within a game.

And in case you are wondering, a twirl is when a player turns the paddle to keep their opponent guessing on which side of the paddle will be used. A twiddle is the same as a twirl. You’re welcome.

Dark Days Ahead For NJ Horse Racing; Monmouth Linked To License Suspensions

New Jersey Racing Commission suspended several licenses after federal indictments and when it learned 19 horses linked to the accused died at Monmouth Park.

The New Jersey sports betting scene, and horse racing, in particular, has been hit hard recently.

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed casinos and canceled horse races while NJ residents are told to stay at home.

The real tragedy for the horse racing industry, however, comes from multiple allegations of horse doping linked to the deaths of a dozen horses in the Garden State.

A published investigation by the Asbury Park Press revealed that 19 horses trained by either Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis have died at Monmouth Park in New Jersey since 2010.

Servis and Navarro were among 27 people recently indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York after an investigation into horse doping.

Twelve of the dead horses were trained by Navarro and seven by Servis.

According to the Press, the 12 deaths out of the Navarro barn since 2012 are the most at Monmouth by any trainer over that period of time. Servis was second.

This is the latest in a connected thread of alleged industry improprieties.

New Jersey suspends licenses after federal indictments

New Jersey Racing Commission suspended licenses following the federal indictments and included two of Monmouth Park’s cash cows.

Navarro is known as the “Juice Man” by some in the industry for supposedly doping horses. He has been the track’s most notable trainer for several years. Servis has been the second-leading trainer for the last three years.

Why do these names matter?

Tracks need influential trainers to stable a significant number of horses on their grounds. This helps ensure that the cards will have enough contestants.

Servis, for instance, was arguably responsible for huge attendance at the Haskell Invitational last year. He decided to bring Maximum Security, the disqualified Kentucky Derby winner, to this race. The Haskell is a make-or-break affair for the Monmouth Park meet.

The last thing the track wants to do is see its heavy hitters silenced. Commissions have cozy relationships with trainers and owners because business depends on not over-regulating.

But this was too big to ignore.

Servis, according to the charges, administered a drug called SGF-1000 to Maximum Security and other horses and then conspired with a vet to cover up the doping.

Authorities say such acts of doping can cause horses to over-exert themselves, potentially leading to their deaths.

Under rules governing New Jersey’s horse racing industry, an indictment alleging criminal activity directly related to the racing industry is grounds for immediate license suspension. That is true whether the indictment is in New Jersey or another jurisdiction.

Horse racing has a perception problem

Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security, released a statement saying he had terminated Servis’s employment.

“Jason Servis, a trainer we have used for 5 years, was indicted on multiple charges regarding using an illegal substance in horses,” he said.

“This news is extremely disturbing and disappointing. Therefore, we will be moving all our horses from Jason Servis as soon as arrangements can be made with other trainers. Maximum Security will be sent to Bob Baffert.”

There’s a perception problem with this.

Did West say he had spoken to Servis? No, he distanced himself, essentially throwing Servis under the bus to maintain a distance from the conflict.

West had to know that industry insiders were grumbling about the sudden success of Servis and Navarro for the past three or four seasons.

The comments by West, reading between the lines, sound like a conviction of Servis.

Horse bettors had questions

Horse bettors long questioned how trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis win at high percentages, far above the industry norm.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York had similar questions that resulted in the indictments of Servis, Navarro, and others.

Also named in the federal indictment:

  • Several horse trainers
  • Veterinarians
  • Drug suppliers
  • Distributors

This is one finish line that may be hard to cross

Servis and Navarro have been utterly silent amid the accusations.  Nothing, not even through their lawyers.

There are reports that they will plead not guilty to the charges, but time, in the court of public opinion, is currency.

The outrage of the innocent should have been sounded already.

Even if they defeat charges, perhaps on grounds that wire-tapped calls implicating them were illegal, the industry won’t welcome them back. 

By not speaking immediately, Servis and Navarro will be hard to believe later.

Where does this situation lead?

We could be headed for an era of banned medications, including Lasix, which helps horses breathe better and perhaps run better than they are capable of.

For the sake of bettors, and the millions of people who love horse racing, the industry needs to get in front of these problems.

Right now, it is way behind.

Dubai World Cup 2020 Canceled; Gulfstream Park Still Running Without Spectators

Horse betting fans in Atlantic City and around the country can turn their focus to Gulfstream Park after the cancellation of the Dubai World Cup 2020.

One major event is off, the other is still on.

The $12 million Dubai World Cup 2020 has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. It is scheduled to return next year.

Horse betting fans in Atlantic City and around the country can turn their focus to Gulfstream Park. The Florida event now commands center stage on Saturday.

Announcements keep flying as racing faces a fluid situation in the midst of the coronavirus. Changes have been constant.

The Florida Derby and the Gulfstream Park Rainbow Pick 6, with a betting pool expected to be several million dollars, is going forward as of now.

Tracks like Laurel in Maryland and Aqueduct in New York have paused their schedules.

On the other hand, Gulfstream and Tampa Bay in Florida, Louisiana Downs, Oaklawn in Arkansas and Santa Anita in California have been proceeding, without spectators.

Betting the Gulfstream Park card

The Gulfstream Park card is available to the New Jersey sports betting crowd via 4NJBets.com, powered by TVG.

A 4NJBets spokesman said Sunday that all decisions regarding the Rainbow Pick 6 menu will be determined by Gulfstream Park’s schedule. If Gulfstream offers it, so will 4NJBets.

A Gulfstream Park official said Sunday evening the races are still scheduled for next week, including the illustrious Florida Derby card. The track’s daily replay show also announced racing would resume on Wednesday, as scheduled.

Florida Derby Day gamblers hope the schedule permits one of the finest betting days of the year.

It hardly matters to bettors that the Derby purse of $1 million was chopped to $750,000, reflecting the absence of on-track handle. The track decided to run without spectators beginning March 14.

The March 28 program at Gulfstream will also see reductions to other major stakes.

The Kitten’s Joy Pan American Stakes (G2T) and the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) will both drop from $250,000 to $200,000, and the Cutler Bay Stakes and Sanibel Island Stakes will dip from $125,000 to $100,000 apiece.

It’s still a nice payday for owners and a cavalcade of top attractions for Gulfstream, which concludes its championship meet Sunday.

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Over the rainbow lies a pot of gold

The 20-cent Rainbow 6 will offer a guaranteed jackpot pool of $1.9 million Wednesday at Gulfstream Park, officials said.

The popular multi-race wager went unsolved for the 18th racing day in a row Sunday since being hit for a jackpot of $468,945 Feb. 27.

Multiple tickets with all six winners Sunday were each worth $1,139.28

The carryover jackpot is only paid out when there is a single unique ticket sold with all six winners.

On days when there is no unique ticket, 70% of that day’s pool goes back to those bettors holding tickets with the most winners. Thirty percent is carried over to the jackpot pool.

Gulfstream likes to lure big betting action with the Saturday races, spiking the Pick 6 pool substantially. Bettors could be wagering into a pool of more than $5 million.  And as long as there is not a single pick-six winner before Sunday, perhaps close to $10 million.

The Pick 6 is elusive and can be expensive, but the 20-cent wager allows multiple stabs at the top prize for a reasonable investment. Hitting six races in a row is quite difficult.

But if a bettor can “single” one or two races, hitting that race with only entry, it opens the possibility for multiple entries on other races. It can even hit an “all” ticket, which means picking every horse in the race, on occasion.

Horse betting trends for NJ sports betting fans

Gulfstream, especially on weekends, has delivered major upsets in the opening race. S

Sunday was no exception with the $1 superfecta paying $8,384. The even-money favorite faltered in the stretch and the winning odds were, in order, 9-1, 7-2, 45-1 and 80-1.

Look impossible to get? Improbable sure, but “keying” the 7-2 shot, putting him in the first and second positions with a string of longshots, could have brought home the payday.

Keep your eyes on these horse betting favorites

Edgar Prado closed to within one win of pulling even with fellow Hall of Famer Angel Cordero in races-won when he guided The Queens Jules to victory in Sunday’s Race 9. Cordero is eighth all-time among jockeys with 7,057 victories.

Trainer Christophe Clement moved to within two wins of the 2,000-win milestone, notching a victory with Just for One Day in Race 2.

Joel Rosario enjoyed a victorious return to Gulfstream with a pair of winners, scoring aboard Just for One Day in Race 2 and Dominate Themoment ($18) in Race 5.

Joe Bravo doubled aboard Pleasant Orb in Race 4 and Special Liaison, at 12-1,  in Race 6.

Fresh off his record-tying seven-win day Saturday, Paco Lopez rode a pair of winners, scoring aboard Noble Hope in Race 3 and Charlie the Greek in Race 7.

Here are some useful handicapping points for Gulfstream Park.

Gulfstream Park preview

Before horse betting on 4NJBets.com and TVG, pay attention to the jockeys.

Jockey selection is one form of handicapping because the top riders are often aligned with the top trainers and barns. These jockeys have been difference-makers and their expertise is worth perhaps a couple of lengths in a horse’s performance.

Irad Ortiz all but wrapped up the riding crown heading into the last week. He has also been the money leader, earning more than $5.8 million for his connections. But on Friday he said he would stop racing for the time being because of the virus.

Luis Saez has been a strong second with $3.49 million.

Lopez has been a sentimental favorite for his aggressive riding style and delivery of longshots to the winning circle.

Paco has cleared the $3 million mark in this meet.

Any good jockey can ride a top mount. Paco, however, has done an excellent job with longshots. He seems to know the exact moment to shoot through a hole and when to time his run.

Tyler Gaffalione has been rock solid, surpassing $3.3 million in earnings.

Emisael Jaramillo is the fifth-leading jockey at just above $2.1 million.

Trainers with substantial respect from bettors include:

  • Todd Pletcher
  • Michael Maker
  • Chad Brown

Kenneth Ramsey is the leading showcased owner, with 58% of his starters finishing first, second or third.

Coronavirus health crisis keeping horses at home

NJ casino and gambling news has come on both sides of the spectrum in recent weeks.

The Dubai Cup postponement is a surprise. The announcement unfolded close to the race date and after officials kept insisting it would run without spectators.

It is likely that travel difficulties, along with concern over the virus, prompted the late decision.

A number of American jockeys declined to make the trip, citing the two-week quarantine before being able to ride again in the United States.

The top trainer Aidan O’Brien and his son, Joseph, also declined to bring their invited horses from Ireland.

With a stay-at-home order issued across much of the nation and casinos closed in NJ, it’s no wonder we are seeing more and more races cancel.

Dubai World Cup 2020 Scheduled To Run Without Fans As Coronavirus Fears Spread

Amid coronavirus fears, the $12 million Dubai World Cup 2020 is still scheduled to run on March 28 but will be doing so without spectators.

To the relief of the New Jersey sports betting crowd, the Dubai World Cup remains on for March 28.

The wildly-popular event has a $12 million purse. It is second only to the $20 million Saudi Cup as the world’s richest horse race.

In early March, it was announced that this event would be conducted without spectators because of coronavirus concerns, but that it would still run.

How to watch and bet on the Dubai World Cup

New Jersey bettors can participate through the NJ gambling site 4NJBets.com, powered by TVG.

The race is approximately 1 1-4 miles. Post time is 12:40 pm EST.

The Dubai Cup is an invitation-only event, drawing the best horses from around the world. It will be broadcast on NBCSN at 12:30.

The event has become one of the cornerstones of the winter thoroughbred racing season. It follows the Saudi Cup from Feb 29, enabling horses to compete in both events. Some will.

The two races, along with the Jan. 25 Pegasus at Gulfstream Park in Florida, gives horse racing a much-needed winter circuit of top events.

The Pegasus reduced its purse from $12 million to $3 million this year, leaving the Saudi Cup and Dubai World Cup the most lucrative events on the racing circuit – by far.

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Dubai Cup Stacked with Talent

The Dubai Cup has long held an emotional connection to American horse-racing fans. It debuted in 1996 as American super-horse Cigar chased Citation’s record for 16 consecutive high-level victories.

Citation’s mark had been accomplished from 1948-50 and included the Triple Crown.

Cigar won the inaugural Dubai World Cup to extend his streak to 14 (he would later tie Citation’s mark) and introduced Dubai to American racing fans.

His victory in 1996 included a tense, compelling stretch battle with Soul of the Matter, whom he beat by half a length.

The event grew in popularity as purses lured top participants from around the world, pitting American thoroughbreds against counterparts from Europe, and later Asia.

This created an international flair.

There has been an array of top achievers:

  • Silver Charm (1998) was the first Kentucky Derby winner to win the Dubai World Cup
  • Curlin (2008) parlayed victory in the Dubai Cup to status as the highest North American money earner with over $10.5 million accumulated at that time.  His major racing wins include the 2007 Preakness States and Breeders Cup Classics along with the 2008 Dubai World Cup.
  • Animal Kingdom (2013) captured the Kentucky Derby in 2011, triumphed in this race as a five-year-old. Animal Kingdom thus became the first Kentucky Derby winner to obtain a Grade 1 race at the age of five.
  • California Chrome (2016) secured the Dubai World Cup after claiming the Kentucky Derby in 2014. He was the American Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2016.
  • Arrogate (2017) prevailed here amid a whirlwind high-profile hot streak that included the Travers Stakes and Breeders Cup Classic in the United States. He was named the American Champion Three-Year-Old Male Horse.
  • Thunder Snow is the only back-to-back winner of this race, turning the feat in 2018 and 2019. The 2019 race was perhaps the greatest ever, with Thunder Snow rallying from 2 1-2 lengths back to win an exhilarating stretch duel over Gronkowski in a photo finish.

Betting on the Dubai Cup

Full betting options will be available to bettors on the morning of the race. Likely wagers include:

Win: the horse to cross the line first

Place: the horse to finish second or higher

Show: the horse to finish third or higher

Exactas: Picking the top two finishers, in order, usually with a box ticket. A $2 exacta box costs $4.

Trifectas: Selecting the top three finishers. Many betting options are available. They include a $1 trifecta box with three horses for $6 or:

Properly selecting the first-place horse and putting either three additional horses in the second and third slots for $6, or four extra horses in the second and third slots for $12.

The same principle applies when betting your favorite horse to come in second. The additional entries put with him must finish in the first and third slots.

Superfectas: Lucrative, but elusive, picking the top four finishers in the race. A $1 superfecta box with four horses costs $24. The same “keying” options exist as they would with trifectas.

Dubai Cup betting prep

What if you had a hunch on Maximum Security in the Saudi Cup in trifectas and superfectas.?

Keying the eventual race winner atop second-place Midnight Bisou, third finisher Benbatl and fourth-place Tacitus would only have cost $6. But it would have returned a $1 trifecta payout of $241 or a $1 superfecta of $1,297.

The Dubai World Cup field won’t be set in stone until the final week of the event. Connections for horses coming off the first-ever Saudi Cup had to decide whether their horses could return for another high-profile race in four weeks.

Although Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou won’t be in the field, a Saudi Cup rematch is brewing.

Benbatl, Mucho Gusto, and Tacitus, who ran third-through fifth, are entered.

Benbati is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, who has won the Dubai World Cup a record nine times, including the last two with Thunder Snow. It has been listed in the 2-1 to 5-2 range in different betting circles. Benbatl and Mucho Gusto finished noses apart in the Saudi Cup.

Mucho Gusto looked headed for victory in that race but faltered in the final 100 meters and finished fourth. He will ship to Dubai and is 4-1 and 8-1 at varied establishments.

Bob Baffert trained the colt and won the Dubai World Cup three times, the most recent with Arrogate in 2017.

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What to watch for at the Dubai Cup

Other likely Dubai World Cup horses from the US include:

  • Sir Winston
  • Quip
  • Parsimony

Sir Winston, the 2019 Belmont Stakes winner, returned from an injury to finish off the board in his turf debut. He followed that up with a perfect trip win over Grade 3 type foes.

The first horse bred in Japan to run in the Kentucky Derby, Master Fencer, placed sixth on the first Saturday in May before rallying for fifth in the Belmont last year.

Dubai Cup betting is good

The Dubai Cup field does not have a prohibitive favorite. The trifecta and superfecta wagering pools will be promising.

Taking a stab at the trifecta and superfecta tickets will be worthwhile.

Betting Hint: The top horses are very good, but they don’t tower above the others.  If you bet the exactas, trifectas, and superfectas, include some longshots.

New Jersey Sportsbooks React To Canceled Sporting Events In The Wake Of COVID-19

New Jersey sportsbooks react to the cancellation of March Madness and suspension of the NBA, NHL seasons due to COVID-19.

The New Jersey sports betting crowd will have to wait out what has become “March Meekness.”

Gone is the lucrative gambling month scheduled to encompass high-level wagering intersections:

  • The thrill of March Madness, college basketball’s championship tournament.
  • The homestretch of the National Hockey League season.
  • Late-season play in the National Basketball Association.
  • Major League Baseball spring training and season openers.

For the moment, that’s all gone.

The NCAA men’s conference tournament championships, weekend previews, and Selection Sunday speculation piece won’t appear here, as planned.

An avalanche of sporting events vanished in a 24-hour blur. The chain of troubling events followed the declaration of the “P” word Wednesday.

And the word was not “parlay.”

The World Health Organization officially labeled the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. That “P” set off a larger one, panic, throughout the world at large, not merely the sports wagering realm.

Soon enough, bettors should regain all the wagering options that serve as a failsafe for sports betting companies during this “social distancing” appeal from the WHO.

NJ sportsbooks react to the coronavirus

Sportsbook operators resemble professionals trapped at home after a blizzard shuts down operations. The only option is to wait out the big variable.

In this case, that’s the perceived potency of the virus. This is an unprecedented dilemma for sportsbook operators.

“We continue to offer wagering on everything being played,” said Matt Stetz, the COO of Rush Street Interactive.  Rush Street owns and operates SugarHouse Casino in several states, including:

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Indiana

“This is out of our hands now.  We have no idea what the leagues will decide to suspend. It’s in the hands of the leagues themselves.”

Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill, mirrors the industry sentiment of suspended acclimation.

“At this time, we don’t have any comment on the coronavirus. We are trying to get our heads wrapped around all of it.”

The rapid event timing is a lot to process. The nuance of different situations and the larger world sports betting finds itself in new territory.

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COVID-19 impacts sports betting

But for now, the coronavirus speed bump is real.

In roughly chronological order, it unfolded like this, following the WHO’s declaration of the pandemic:

  • The NCAA announced that conference tournament basketball games would be played without spectators.
  • Conference tournaments were then canceled, and one game, St. John’s versus Creighton, was discontinued at halftime.
  • The likelihood of an unwelcome March Madness cancellation grew on Thursday.  Not only was a large gathering of people deemed unsafe, but how would one determine at-large berths without a conference champion?
  • Duke and Kansas Universities said they would not travel to March Madness, ensuring the final decision that came two hours later, when the entire tournament was shelved.
  • The NBA paused its season after one of its players tested positive for the virus.  That number later became two. The league has the option to continue in a few weeks, even play a shortened postseason, unless the virus breaks out among more teams and officials.
  • The NHL paused its season.
  • MLB shut down spring training and delayed the scheduled March 26 start to its season by at least two weeks.
  • Santa Anita Park shut down its meet for now.
  • The PGA Championship was canceled after the first round.

Even the Dubai Cup, a $12 million signature horse race set for March 28 in Saudi Arabia, announced the race would be run without spectators. Will it even happen without the public on hand to enhance it?

Tennis will also be canceling events.

The ATP called off men’s tournaments for the next six weeks. The WTA said its tournament in South Carolina, set for April 6-12, would not be held as scheduled, with decisions about the rest of the season to come in the next week.

NASCAR announced it would race the next two weekends, in Atlanta and Miami, without fans, and IndyCar made the same decision for its race this weekend in St. Petersburg, FL.

Even the fledgling XFL, which unfurled a promising start, canceled its season Thursday night.

Social distancing is the new black

The NBA development most likely thrust this rash of events over the top.

Importantly, there were no dissenting voices over putting a hold on the schedule.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban expressed concern for his family, said half of life is random and that his team was prepared to follow league directives reached in consultation with medical experts.

Cuban also scored public relations points, saying the team would keep workers on the payroll, perhaps doing volunteer assignments. That’s an important distinction, addressing the rank-and-file ripple effect of a team shutting down operations.

NBA and NHL commentators spoke of the need, and the intention of their leagues, to follow medically based recommendations. They appeared relieved, rather than disturbed, that medical guidance would make the cancellation of big-money events a no-brainer.

Editorials began surfacing, pressuring the NCAA to cancel March Madness. It can’t be postponed, as the event is time-sensitive. The NBA and NHL, meanwhile, could pick up after a month away.

Other sporting events and community functions toppled like dominoes:

  • Boxing matches Thursday in Boston
  • St. Patrick’s Day parades in New Jersey
  • Community fundraisers
  • Nursing homes, practically self-quarantining

NJ mobile sports betting will recover

Handicapping: The President of China visited the coronavirus Ground Zero, Wuhan, this week. 

Hypothesis: The virus could be on its way out there. That means it could run its course here before too long.

Despite the setback, this is an appropriate time to reflect and savor the new sports wagering enterprise.

Two years ago, we had PASPA. We couldn’t picture a world with:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • William Hill
  • BetMGM

Two years ago, you could not have envisioned New Jersey surpassing half a billion dollars of wagers in one month.

Mobile technology did not exist during the decades-long lobbying period to legalize sports wagering.

Mobile allows betting with the press of a finger. And multiple wagers during the game. All without standing in line.

Fifteen inches of snow can be piled in your driveway, trapping you inside. Still, you can have action on events almost anywhere in the world: football, tennis, golf, basketball, soccer—some payouts approaching $1 million.

Yes, coronavirus is a bad (out)break. Some industry jobs will be lost.

Turmoil marks the business world outside of sports. But there could be hockey in June, an extended NBA season and the return of baseball.

It will get warm.

The virus will run its course.

And, eventually, bettors will look at this as just an off-season.