Sports betting is coming to New Jersey. Soon. But where can you bet?
How we got here on NJ sports betting
In a decision released this spring, the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. This allowed New Jersey to move forward with efforts to have legal sports betting in Atlantic City casinos and racetracks in the state.
PASPA is the law that prohibited single-game sports betting everywhere except Nevada. Limited forms of sports gambling in Delaware, Montana and Oregon were also exempt. The decision declaring the law unconstitutional opened the door for states across the country to legalize sports betting.
A handful of states had passed sports betting legislation anticipating the court would rule in New Jersey’s favor. Following the decision, lawmakers in these states, and New Jersey, immediately got to work. They began putting together legislation to govern sports betting inside NJ’s borders.
Delaware sports betting beats New Jersey to the punch
New Jersey was hopeful it could get there first. However, lawmakers in the Garden State got beaten to the punch.
The race to become the first state outside Nevada to offer full-fledged sports betting was won by Delaware. Delaware announced in May that full-scale sports betting operations would launch there on June 5. The three Delaware casino and racetrack properties went live on that date.
The Delaware Lottery already offered NFL parlay betting previously. That will continue to be available at Delaware Lottery retailers and various bars. However, full-scale sports betting will now be available exclusively at sportsbooks inside Delaware casinos.
Delaware decided it already had all the necessary laws and regulations in place to implement full-scale sports betting. It will operate under the direction of its state lottery. Of course, that means New Jersey will not be the first state outside Nevada to offer full-scale sports betting. However, it doesn’t mean New Jersey is giving up.
State lawmakers are still moving forward with regulations and legislation that will govern the local sports betting industry. Once completed, the how and when of NJ sports betting will be defined. In the meantime, there are already indications as to where will you be able to bet on sports in NJ?
Sports betting at NJ racetracks
New Jersey’s three racetracks include:
- Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford
- Freehold Raceway in Freehold
- Monmouth Park in Oceanport
These facilities have always been part of the plan for sports betting in NJ.
In fact, Monmouth Park built a sportsbook-style lounge in 2014 in anticipation legal sports betting would be coming to New Jersey.
It planned to be the first place in New Jersey to take a bet. However, the $1 million sportsbook, a partnership with British bookmaker William Hill, has been running as a sports bar ever since.
In November 2017, Monmouth Park CEO Dennis Drazin said the track would be ready to start taking bets within weeks of a Supreme Court decision. Once the decision came down, Drazin said betting windows would open on Memorial Day.
Without the necessary regulatory legislation in place, that plan was scrapped. However, Monmouth Park and its William Hill sportsbook remain ready. Drazin has promised to wait for lawmakers to get their affairs in order first. He is now targeting the first few weeks of June for launch.
More than just Monmouth Park
Other horse racing facilities across the state have also sought out other sources of revenue in an effort to help keep the struggling horse racing industry afloat.
As a result, Freehold Raceway and Meadowlands Racetrack aren’t likely to let the opportunity for additional revenue pass by. We learned last week that Paddy Power Betfair had struck a deal with the latter track.
Meadowlands previously backed a plan by Hard Rock International to build a $1 billion, 650,000-square-foot casino beside the track just a few years ago. It would have had with 200 table games and 5,000 slot machines. In a 2016 referendum, New Jersey voters said no to expanding casino gaming outside of Atlantic City. It killed that plan.
Additionally, officials at Freehold Raceway have said the facility is taking steps towards offer sports betting.
Atlantic City casinos
New Jersey restricts casino gambling to licensed hotels and resorts inside Atlantic City. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that these casinos be a big part of the sports betting industry.
Several Atlantic City casinos have already announced they will be building sportsbooks and have lined up partners to help them offer sports betting.
In November 2017, MGM announced it would be building a $7 million sportsbook at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. In the meantime, Borgata is renaming its existing horse race betting facility The Race & Sports Book and will start taking sports wagers there once regulatory approvals are in place.
Plus, at the end of May 2018, Ocean Resort Casino announced it had entered into a partnership with William Hill to build what both are promising will be the best sportsbook in town.
The 7,500-square-foot sportsbook will be built on the casino floor and feature a bar, video viewing and live in-game betting odds.
Other casinos are sure to follow and several are already looking at online solutions as well.
Computers, tablets and smartphones
With online gambling already legal inside New Jersey, gamblers should be able to place sports bets from just about anywhere inside the state using a computer, tablet or smartphone connected to the internet.
In fact, several Atlantic City casinos with online gambling licenses are already moving forward with online sports betting plans.
Resorts Atlantic City has inked a deal with daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings to offer a mobile and online sports betting product.
Additionally, horse racing giant Churchill Downs has reached a deal with online sports betting technology company SBTech to run online sports betting operations for Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
SBTech also recently signed a deal with online gambling platform provider GAN to introduce its sports betting technology to GAN’s online gambling platform.
Betfair uses the GAN platform in New Jersey under Golden Nugget’s license, and Ocean Resort Casino is planning to launch an online gambling site with GAN software later this year.