What a difference a year makes! Since the historic repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) on May 14, 2018, legalized sports betting has grown by leaps and bounds.
Previously, Nevada had a virtual monopoly on legal sports betting. Besides Nevada, only three other states (Delaware, Oregon, and Montana) were exempt from PASPA, but unlike in Nevada, their sports betting options were extremely limited.
Everywhere else in the US betting on sports was completely illegal. So individuals who wanted to bet had to rely on proxies, local bookmakers, or offshore gambling operators.
As of this writing, legalized sports betting is up and running in 13 states, five more have already passed the needed legislation but sports betting has yet to be launched, and many others are considering legislation.
Current status of legal sports betting in the US
States where legal sports betting is now available
All of the following states now offer full-scale legalized sports betting, including wagers on the outcomes of individual games. They are listed below in the order in which the option became available. Of the 13 states, full-scale sports betting predated the repeal of PASPA in only one–Nevada.
State Date Launched
Delaware June 5, 2018
New Jersey June 14, 2018
Mississippi August 1, 2018
West Virginia August 30, 2018
New Mexico* October 16, 2018
Pennsylvania November 16, 2018
Rhode Island November 26, 2018
Arkansas July 1, 2019
New York July 17, 2019
Iowa August 15, 2019
Oregon* August 27, 2019
Indiana September 1, 2019
*Limited to certain tribes
States that have passed legislation and sports wagering should launch soon
Since the following five states have already passed the required legislation, it’s just a matter of time before full scale legalized sports betting should be up and running there, too.
- North Carolina
- Washington, DC
In Maine, legislation passed in both houses, but the governor elected not to sign it, so sports betting is on hold there for now, as it is in other states which have introduced legislation, but it has yet to be approved.
In any case, there is no denying that sports betting fever across the US is growing at an incredibly rapid pace.
Legal betting on sports is expected to draw 15% of Americans during the 2019 NFL season
The September 4, 2019 issue of The Press of Atlantic City reports the results of a national survey conducted by Money Consult Online for the American Gaming Association August 7-12, 2019. The sample consisted of 11,000 adults from different states.
Over 38 million Americans and nearly 1.6 million New Jersey residents indicated that they expected to place sports wagers during this centennial season of the NFL.
This number would presumably be even larger if legalized sports betting were currently available in more states. 24 percent of those surveyed indicated that they would probably wager on NFL games if legal and convenient in their home state.
Here are some other telling findings from the August, 2019 survey:
- 9 million Americans said that they would place bets at a retail casino sportsbook—an increase of nearly 1.2 million from 2018.
- 75 percent of the sports bettors said they were more likely to watch a game they have wagered on.
- 28 percent said they would be more likely to attend a game they have wagered on.
- 51 percent said they were more likely to watch pregame data and commentary on a game they have wagered on.
- 63 percent said they would be more likely to watch a game with their family and friends if they had a wager on it.
Keeping the regulated sports betting industry safe and viable
The enthusiastic manner in which Americans are embracing legalized sports betting is most encouraging to everyone involved in or affected by the industry. But at the same time, as the legal market continues to grow, implementing appropriate safeguards is a must.
As Bill Miller, president and CEO of the American Gaming Association points out:
“During this centennial NFL season, more Americans than ever before can wager on football in safe, well-regulated environments.
It is clear that as jurisdictions enact policies to provide a legal alternative to the dangerous illegal market, consumers follow suit and seek the protection they deserve….
As the legal market grows, it is imperative for gaming and adjacent industries to focus on implementing and promoting legal sports betting responsibly to protect consumers and ensure the viability of legal markets to the continued detriment of illegal operators.”
NJ sports betting: Start of NFL season packs Atlantic City sportsbooks
According to published reports, 80% of NJ legal sports wagers take place in online and mobile sportsbooks. But judging by the packed sportsbooks in Atlantic City casinos all over town on Sunday, Sept. 8, the first Sunday of the regular season of the NFL, one would think otherwise.
From the Boardwalk to the Marina, all nine Atlantic City sportsbooks (Borgata has two) were filled with players eager for action, hoping to kick off the 100th season of the NFL on a winning note.
The crowds included not only large numbers of seasoned bettors but also many newcomers to sports betting.
According to a Sept. 9 article in The Press of Atlantic City, one Atlantic City casino sportsbook manager commented that he had never seen so many first time players. “A lot of $10 and $20 bets, but people are really into it.”
Pointing to the casino floor, which was also packed, and a bar with nowhere near enough seats for the huge crowd, the sportsbook manager added: “You can see what it’s doing for the restaurants and bars and casino.”
Bally’s Wild Wild West held its Grand Opening party the same day
Probably the sportsbook with the most excitement–and also pandemonium–on Sunday, Sept. 8 was Bally’s Wild Wild West. The reason was the huge party there to celebrate the “grand opening” of that much heralded 15,228 square-foot sportsbook—the largest in Atlantic City (after the fact—the new sportsbook actually debuted in June).
Unfortunately, despite 200+ seats, it was standing room only for those who didn’t have reserved seats and arrived late. Former Eagles players Chris Long, Hollis Thomas, and Fred Barnett were on hand to meet and greet fans, take pictures, and sign autographs. Also, the first 200 people to place a bet of $100 or more received an NFL throw as a thank you gift.
NJ sports betting results for August
Football season has only begun, but already there is every indication, at least in NJ, that September, 2019 will set a new record for sports betting in the state. Meanwhile, the data showing the revenue for NJ sports betting in August are now in and indicate a whopping 115 percent increase in sports betting revenue for August, 2019 compared to August, 2018.
NJ sportsbooks—digital and retail combined—generated $11.26 million in revenue in August, 2019, with nearly $6.7 million coming from DraftKings.
Conclusion: Legal US sports wagering is growing by leaps and bounds
In the little over a year since the Supreme Court overturned the federal ban on sports betting in May, 2018, legal sports wagers in the US have already amounted to more than $10 billion.
This fall and in 2020 as more states continue to jump on the bandwagon, these figures are going to skyrocket even more. How much more I wouldn’t venture to guess. Picking the winners of the weekly contests is challenging enough. But what an exciting time it is for sports bettors in New Jersey. As always, NJ Gambling Websites will continue to keep you informed on all of the latest developments.