In June 2018 New Jersey residents saw the floodgates open on legal sports betting. A trickle of openings, starting with New Jersey sports betting operations within Atlantic City casinos and Monmouth Park Racetrack, were set to be followed by a host of opportunities including the crown jewel, online betting.
In May 2018 the Supreme Court overturned the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act which prohibited sports gambling in every state of the U.S. with the exception of Nevada.
New Jersey had anticipated the decision and had put themselves in a position to quickly take advantage of it. In 2011 the state’s voters passed a constitutional amendment in favour of legalising New Jersey sports betting and three years later, the legislature repealed its law against sports betting.
That did not automatically mean you could bet legally in New Jersey but the May 2018 Supreme Court ruling did and New Jersey became the third state where you could bet legally, beaten to the punch by Delaware by a few days.
Monmouth Park Racetrack and MGM’s Borgata Casino in Atlantic City were the first to accept legal New Jersey sports betting wagers but all of AC’s casinos will have operational sportsbooks offering fixed-odds betting in time.
There is one interesting clause in the new regulations which prohibits the Golden Nugget (the current No. 1 Atlantic City casino) from accepting bets on NBA games. That’s due to a potential conflict of interest with Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta also owning the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
With a mad rush to receive a licence allowing a premises to accept bets legally in New Jersey there is likely to be a backlog of applications from venues and sports betting sites in New Jersey.
Unquestionably William Hill had themselves well prepared and positioned for the race – they already have operational sportsbooks in Monmouth Park racetrack and AC’s Ocean Resort Casino (formerly known as Revel).
The British company also have sportsbooks operating in Nevada in association with Caesars Entertainment so you can expect to find them in their AC properties: Bally’s, Harrah’s and Caesars sometime soon.
Another British group, Paddy Power Betfair, have also agreed a long-term New Jersey sports betting agreement with the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford.
And once the new regulations became apparent DraftKings quickly signed a deal with Resorts Casino which will see them offer web-based and mobile betting opportunities to its customers under their licence.
New Jersey was prepared for the legalisation of sports betting in the U.S. but they were probably not anticipating the scramble for casino partnerships with established operators.
Legislators did give land-based sports betting a 30-day head start on the launch of online operations and internet betting can only be facilitated by venues that have been given a land-based licence.
However, they can operate up to three individually branded websites and three similarly branded mobile wagering apps. Online bettors are not required to make their deposits at the licensee’s wagering lounge incidentally.
To be granted a New Jersey sports betting license casinos and racetracks are required to build a ‘first class sports wagering lounge’ which must be at least 1,000 square-feet in size and feature prominent ‘problem gambling’ information.
All of New Jersey’s state licensed casinos and racetracks (including former tracks) are eligible to apply for sports betting licenses, however off-track betting sites cannot.