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Legal sports betting has arrived at casinos and racetracks across New Jersey.
The state’s first bets were made at 10:33 a.m. on June 14 at a ceremony held at Monmouth Park’s William Hill Race & Sports Bar.
DraftKings became the first company to offer legal online sports betting in New Jersey. DraftKings Sportsbook went live statewide on Aug. 6. MGM soft-launched its playMGM mobile sportsbook app in NJ almost three weeks later on Aug. 22. In short order, SugarHouse Sportsbook launched its NJ site on Aug. 23, merging its online casino with online sports gambling.
But the market continues to grow. FanDuel Sportsbook app soft-launched on Sept. 1 with a five-day limited access period. At the same time, William Hill sportsbook launched its app in New Jersey, bringing the total online sports sites to five. But that number would be short-lived.
NJ sportsbooks and online sports gambling sites
The new sports betting law allows local racetracks and casinos in Atlantic City to open up sports wagering lounges, or sportsbooks. They can also operate temporary sports betting facilities while they build permanent ones.
Starting July 11, the racetracks and casinos were able to take their sportsbooks operations online. DraftKings was the first to do so in New Jersey, with the site opening to Garden State bettors Aug. 6. There are now eight NJ online sports betting apps available.
Here’s a list of the racetracks and casinos jumping into the NJ sports betting market:
Online sportsbooks and gambling partnerships
|Online Sportsbook||Sports Betting Partner(s)||Land-Based Affiliate||Launch Date||Android App?||iOS App?|
|DraftKings||Kambi/SBTech||Resorts AC||Aug. 6||Yes||Yes|
|888 Sport||Kambi||Caesars||Sept. 10||Yes||No|
|SugarHouse Sportsbook||Kambi||Golden Nugget AC||Aug. 23||Yes||Yes|
|Caesars||Scientific Games||Caesars||Sept. 6||Yes||Yes|
|BetStars||NA||Resorts AC||Sept. 13||Yes||No (available via PokerStars NJ app)|
|William Hill||NA||Monmouth||Sept. 1||Yes||Yes|
|playMGM||IGT||Borgata AC||Aug. 22||Yes||No|
|bet365||Unknown||Hard Rock AC||Unknown||Probably||Probably|
|Golden Nugget sportsbook||SBTech||Golden Nugget AC||Unknown||Planned||Planned|
|Ocean Resort||William Hill||Ocean Resort Casino||Unknown||Probably||Probably|
|Resorts Sportsbook||SBTech||Resorts AC||Unknown||Planned||Planned|
|Hard Rock||GiG||Hard Rock AC||End of 2018||Probably||Probably|
Land-based sportsbooks and locations
|Casino/Racetrack||Sports Betting Partner(s)||Sportsbook Name||Launch Date||Open?|
|Borgata||IGT||Borgata Race & Sports Bar||June 14||Yes|
|Monmouth Park||William Hill||Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill||June 14||Yes|
|Ocean Resort Casino||William Hill||William Hill Sportsbook @ Ocean||June 28||Yes|
|Resorts||SBTech||The Resorts Sports Book||Aug. 15||Yes|
|Meadowlands||Betfair/FanDuel||FanDuel Sportsbook||July 14||Yes|
|Harrah's||Scientific Games||Unknown||Aug. 1||Yes|
|Bally's||Scientific Games||Wild Wild West Sportsbook||July 30||Yes|
|Golden Nugget||SBTech||The Sportsbook||Aug. 15||Yes|
|Hard Rock Atlantic City||bet365/Kindred/GiG||Unknown||End of 2018||No|
Open sportsbooks in New Jersey
Monmouth Park Racetrack
Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport was the first operation to take a legal sports bet in New Jersey and rightfully so. They’ve been waiting to do it since 2013.
Nevada’s largest sports book operator, William Hill US, anticipated New Jersey eventually winning the right to offer legal sports betting back then. It signed a deal with Monmouth Park to become the track’s exclusive sports betting provider and paid the track $1 million for those rights.
The two sides agreed to split all NJ sports betting revenue equally, and Monmouth Park used the cash to build the William Hill Race & Sports Bar. It operated as a sports bar, but the plan was to turn into a Las Vegas-style sportsbook when the law would let it.
When the US Supreme Court declared the federal ban on sports betting unconstitutional in May, Monmouth Park made plans to start taking sports bets immediately.
It had to wait for the state to get the legislation in place, but on June 14, it was able to start taking bets inside the William Hill Race & Sports Bar and some pari-mutuel wagering windows converted into a sportsbook on June 14.
Now, they’re making plans to spend $5 million building an even bigger sports wagering lounge on the property with space for up to 5,000 gamblers.
In the meantime, Monmouth Park is taking bets. Its sportsbook operates on the following schedule:
- Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa owner MGM Resorts announced plans to build a $7 million sportsbook at the Atlantic City casino in November 2017.
The project was in the final design stages when sports betting launched in New Jersey. In the meantime, Borgata renamed its horse race betting facility The Race & Sports Book and launched sports betting there at 11 a.m. on June 14. You can bet that MGM has plans for an NJ online sports betting site and mobile sports betting, too.
Borgata is now accepting wagers starting at 11 a.m. daily, although opening times are subject to change with the sports programming schedule.
The playMGM mobile sports betting app soft-launched in the Garden State on Aug. 22, becoming the second NJ online sports betting app after DraftKings Sportsbook.
Ocean Resort Casino
After a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Bruce Deifik officially opened Ocean Resort Casino to gamblers on June 28. And alongside its opening was the opening of the William Hill sportsbook.
At the end of May, Ocean Resort struck a deal with William Hill US to build a 7,500-square-foot sportsbook in the center of the casino floor. For the first six weeks, sports bets were done at a temporary facility near the new space. But on Sept. 6, just in time for the first NFL game of the season, the William Hill Sportsbook @ Ocean finally opened.
Ocean Resort Casino also has an NJ online gambling site with software provider GAN that launched in July. It will likely offer sports betting since GAN recently signed a deal with sports betting software provider SBTech to introduce SBTech’s sports betting tech to GAN’s platform.
The sportsbook at Ocean Resort is open daily from 9 a.m. to midnight.
Just days after the New Jersey Legislature voted to legalize sports betting, Betfair US announced it had made a deal to launch live, online, and mobile sports betting at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford. It originally planned to open a sportsbook on July 15, but changed the date to July 14.
Betfair US had already decided to combine operations with daily fantasy sports operator FanDuel and use FanDuel as it’s primary US brand.
The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack opened officially at 11 a.m. July 14.
Bally’s and Harrah’s
Bally’s launched its physical sportsbook on July 30. Harrah’s plans to open for business on Aug. 1. Both casinos will use temporary sportsbooks for the first nine months while permanent facilities are constructed.
Bally’s and Harrah’s, along with parent company Caesars Entertainment, inked a deal with Scientific Games to expand its sports betting offerings in the US. Along with the sportsbook launches in New Jersey, Caesars also plans to kick things into gear at its Mississippi casinos.
The company runs a successful mobile sports betting app and sportsbooks at a number of its Nevada properties. Expect to see its online sports betting site launch sooner rather than later.
Bally’s and Harrah’s sportsbooks have the same business hours:
- Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Resorts Casino Hotel
Resorts Casino Hotel opened its sportsbook on Aug. 15, using its iGaming lounge as a temporary book while a permanent facility is built. Powered by SBTech, the sportsbook was originally planning to be the fifth sportsbook to open in AC. Golden Nugget, however, beat Resorts to the punch.
In an interview following the opening, Resorts hinted at a September launch of its self-branded NJ online sports betting site. DraftKings Sportsbook, which uses Resorts’ license, was the first mobile wagering app. By opening a sportsbook, Resorts became the first AC casino to have both an on-site and an online sportsbook.
The Resorts Sportsbook is open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. (subject to change).
Golden Nugget Atlantic City
Golden Nugget Sportsbook launched on Aug. 15 alongside Resorts AC. While it won’t be taking bets on NBA games, The Sportsbook started in a temporary location in the former poker room before the new 2,500-square-foot space opened on Aug. 31.
The Sportsbook features nine self-service kiosks and four betting windows. Like Resorts Casino, Golden Nugget Sportsbook is powered by SBTech.
Horse racing giant Churchill Downs also reached a deal with online sports betting technology company SBTech to run online gambling and sports betting operations under the Golden Nugget NJ online gambling license.
Golden Nugget Sportsbook is open daily, 10 a.m. to midnight.
More NJ sportsbooks and online sports betting sites to come
Freehold Raceway and owner Penn National Gaming have publicly stated they look forward to taking sports bets at the track and are taking steps behind the scenes to launch sports betting at the facility soon.
Tropicana Casino and Resort
Tropicana Atlantic City was one of seven casinos sold to Gaming and Leisure Properties in early 2018. However, as part of the deal, Eldorado Resorts is going to lease the property and manage its operations.
Tropicana still hasn’t submitted an application for sports betting to the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement. However, company management has already confirmed that construction on a sports betting facility is underway at the casino.
Both Eldorado and Tropicana itself have secured deals with William Hill in the last month. Assuming that Tropicana can get its ducks in a row, we could see a Tropicana Sportsbook by the end of 2018.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
One of the new kids on the Boardwalk, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City didn’t open with a sportsbook but it has secured a few partnerships to join the market soon.
In July, bet365 and Hard Rock entered into a deal that would bring the European betting giant to the US as a skin under Hard Rock’s NJ license. That was followed a few weeks later by a deal with Kindred, which operates Unibet.
Since neither of those deals would produce a retail book for the AC casino, its overall plans remained a mystery.
Then, on Oct. 12, the mystery was solved. Hard Rock online casino’s partner GiG will operate its sportsbook, too. While details were few and far between, it is likely that there will be an on-site and an online sports betting presence at Hard Rock by year’s end.
Common questions about New Jersey sports betting
Who can bet on sports in New Jersey?
Just about anyone 21 or older and inside the state.
However, the law prohibits athletes, coaches, referees, and anybody else who could influence the outcome of a game from making bets.
What sports can you bet on?
Bets available at launch included those on the following sports:
- Major League Baseball
- World Cup Soccer
- US Open Golf
- UFC Fighting
- Wimbledon Tennis
- National Football League
Are there any restrictions?
There is a collegiate betting restriction affecting the state’s two Division I schools — Rutgers and Seton Hall. No bets on these teams or any other college games in taking place in the state.
The law also prohibits owners and other key members of pro sports leagues and franchises from taking bets on the sports they are involved in. For instance, Golden Nugget can’t take NBA bets because owner Tilman Fertitta also owns the Houston Rockets.
What kind of bets can be made?
Like sportsbooks in Nevada, New Jersey sportsbooks, online and off, offer a variety of bets that fall under the category of single-game wagering. Basically, that means gamblers can pick the winner of a specific sporting event and bet on it.
However, there are a variety of ways gamblers can bet on the games.
Money line bets
Money line bets are the most simple and common single-game wagers. You select a game, pick a team to win that game, and if they come through, you get paid based on the money line odds.
The money line is basically a representation of the odds on a particular team to win. The money line shows you how much you need to bet to win $100 on the favorite and how much you can win betting $100 on the underdog.
For favorites, a money line is a negative number. The money line on the New Jersey Devils to beat the New York Rangers might be -110. That would mean you would have to bet $110 to win $100 plus your initial $110 bet back.
For underdogs, a money line is a positive number. The money line on the New York Rangers to beat the New Jersey Devils might be +150. That would mean betting $100 on the Rangers would win you $150 plus your initial $100 bet back if the Rangers win.
Point spread bets
Point spreads are set by sportsbooks and reflect how many points a favorite in any particular game is expected to win by. Point spread bets are simply wagers on the favorite to win by that set amount of points or not.
The favorite must win by more points than the spread for bets on that favorite to pay. Bets on the underdog pay when it beats the favorite or loses by fewer points than the spread.
Let’s say the point spread on New York Jets versus New York Giants game is set at 4.5 points. The Giants are the favorite, so they would need to win by more than 4.5 points to cover. If the score ended up Giants 17 Jets 10, the Giants would cover, having won by more than the 4.5 point spread. All bets on the Giants to cover would pay.
However, if the game ended up Giants 17 Jets 16, the Giants would have failed to cover. Only bets on the Jets would pay.
The favorite has to cover the point spread to win. If they don’t cover, bets on the underdog pay. If the favorite wins by the point spread exactly, it is considered a push and both sides get their bet back.
The over/under is a relatively simple bet on how many total points will be scored in a particular game. Like point spreads, a line is set on the total points that will be scored in a game. Gamblers then bet on whether the actual total will be over or under that particular line.
The over/under on the New York Giants versus the New York Jets might be 50. If the final score of the game turned out to be Giants 25 Jets 24, the total score would be 49 and all bets on the under would pay. If the final score ended up Giants 31 Jets 24, the total score would be 55 and all bets on the over would pay.
Parlay bets involve combining more than one bet. All bets in a parlay must win for the parlay to pay, making it more of a long shot with huge odds and big paydays when they do come through.
Nothing comes easy in parlay betting, however. In fact, the reason parlays come with huge payouts is because picking multiple winners is very hard to do.
These are often considered the fun bets. Proposition bets, or props, are often exotic bets with little or no impact on the actual outcome of a game.
Props are essentially gamblers betting on whether or not something will happen. Will the coin toss before the start of the game come up heads or tails? Will the Giants score first against the Jets? Will Eli Manning throw for more than 2 touchdown passes?
Sportsbooks often offer props on all kinds of things in big games with large audiences such as the Super Bowl.
Futures bets are long-term wagers that may take place over an entire season. Common futures bets include betting on a team to win a division title, championship, or just to make the playoffs. The best odds are offered on these bets before the start of the season.
Sports are unpredictable, particularly over the length of an entire season. As a result, futures bets pay big odds.
How much do sports betting operators have to pay in taxes?
The law sets the tax rate for racetrack sportsbook at 8.5 percent. Plus, an additional 1.25 percent payment to be split by host communities and counties. Casinos must also pay the 8.5 percent tax, plus the additional 1.25 percent payment. However, the proceeds of the casinos’ 1.25 percent payment will go towards Atlantic City marketing.
Online sportsbook operations will be charged a straight 13 percent tax.
A federal excise tax of 0.25 percent of handle will also be paid by all sportsbook operations.
Which state agency is providing government oversight?
The law gives the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement and the New Jersey Racing Commission the right to set sports betting regulations, issue opertors licenses, and provide oversight in the industry.
Was New Jersey the first state to legalize sports betting outside Nevada?
No. Delaware launched full-scale sportsbook operations at its three racetrack casinos on June 5, 2018. Just a few days before New Jersey. Sports betting in Delaware operates under the direction of the state lottery.
Are sportsbooks and sports bettors speaking another language?
No, sportsbooks and sports bettors are not speaking another language. It’s just that the world of sports betting involves a lot of jargon. In other words, they’ve got words for all kinds of things you may not have heard of before.
Here’s a quick glossary of some common sports betting terms that may help you understand it all a little better:
An action is simply another word for a bet or a wager. If you’ve got action on a game, you’ve got a bet on it. The amount of action is equal to the amount bet.
A beard, or runner, is someone placing bets for another person. Professional gamblers may use beards to disguise who they are betting on and how much.
Book is a shorter term used for sportsbook or bookmaker.
A bookie is a person that takes bets. Generally, bookies operate in the black market as opposed to legal and regulated sportsbooks in casinos. However, someone taking your bet at a legal sportsbook could also be referred to as a bookie.
Lines are subject to fluctuate before a game begins. This movement is based on various information including how much money is being bet on each side. The closing line is the final betting line set before the game begins.
When a team wins by more points than they are favored by in the point spread, they cover the spread.
A favorite is the team the sportsbook believes is most likely to win. Favorites give away points in the point spread and have shorter odds on the money line. A big favorite is often referred to as a lock, but there are no sure things.
The term handle refers to the total amount of money a sportsbook takes in. This should not be confused with the revenue a sportsbook pulls in, which is often only a small percentage of its handle. Handle is all the money bet on either side of all bets.
A game is referred to as a pick ’em when no favorite emerges. The point spread on a pick ’em would be zero, although it’s very rare to see.
Sharps are winning professional sports bettors who always seems to be on the right side of things. They often use inside information to bet wisely or more sharply than the average punter.
A square is the opposite of a sharp. These are more casual and less serious gamblers. They follow public sentiment, let emotions affect their wagering and unlike sharps, they bet with their heart instead of their head.
A tout is an individual or organization giving away or selling picks on various games. Most claim to be big winners, but if that were true, why would they want to give away their secrets?
Underdogs are the teams not expected to win. They represent the other side of the favorites coin. These teams get points in the spread and decent odds on the money line. If the team stands almost no chance of winning, it is referred to as a longshot.
Vigorish is the term used to describe the commission a sportsbook takes in on bets. This is where they get revenue. Vigorish is often called the vig or the juice.
New Jersey sports betting law
Sports betting became legal In New Jersey on June 11, 2018 when Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law passed by the legislature just days earlier. Emergency regulations to govern the budding industry were published a couple days later. Then, the first sportsbook opened at 10:30 a.m. June 14.
The first online NJ sportsbook, DraftKings, began full operations on Aug. 6.
Below is the basic legal and regulatory framework for sports betting in New Jersey:
- Sports betting can be conducted at New Jersey racetracks and Atlantic City casinos
- Land-based and mobile/internet wagering (30 days after) are both authorized
- Wagering is allowed on all professional sports and most collegiate events outside of New Jersey
- Licensing fees include: $200,000 (casinos/racetracks), $400,000 (internet gaming), $250,000 (Responsible Gaming), $100,000 (sports wagering license), $250,000 (Casino Control Fund retainer)
- Taxes include: 8.5 percent for in-person; 13 percent for online (casinos), 8.5 percent for in-person; 14.25 percent for online (racetracks)
New Jersey sports betting history
The state has been trying to legalize sports betting since 2011 when it first passed a bill seeking to regulate the activity at local racetracks and casinos.
Professional and amateur sports leagues across the country took the state to court and were successful in having that new law struck down. However, New Jersey tried again in 2014.
State legislators passed a second bill aimed at legalizing sports betting, and the leagues filed another lawsuit. The courts struck down the law for the second time. However, after a series of failed appeals, New Jersey was successful in getting the US Supreme Court to hear its case in December 2017.
That NJ sports betting decision came down on May 14, 2018, with SCOTUS declaring that PASPA was unconstitutional. The ruling cleared the way for states to regulate and offer sports betting if they choose.
New Jersey, of course, did opt to authorize sports betting within its borders. Though Delaware was the first state to begin accepting legal sports bets in the wake of the SCOTUS decision, New Jersey came in just a week behind.
Murphy vs NCAA: The NJ sports betting SCOTUS case
In December 2017, New Jersey took its case against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) to the Supreme Court. PASPA was the federal law that made sports betting illegal everywhere except Nevada. Certain parlay bets in Delaware and game square wagering in Montana were also exempt. However, single-game wagering happened only in Nevada thanks to PASPA.
The state presented some relatively strong arguments suggesting the ban on sports betting was an unconstitutional one. In fact, following oral arguments, most made New Jersey the favorite to win, which it did when SCOTUS ruled that PASPA is unconstitutional on May 14, 2018.
Legal sports betting is now available to anyone inside New Jersey state lines.