States' push to legalize sports betting differs by region

FILE - In this March 21, 2019, file photo, gamblers line up to place bets on the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City N.J. This is the first March Madness tournament since legal gambling expanded last year in the U.S. The spread of legalized sports betting is largely following regional boundaries. Lawmakers across the Northeast and upper Midwest have generally approved it or are still considering doing so this year. But in the Deep South and far West, fewer states are rushing in a year after the US Supreme Court cleared the way for legal sports betting nationally. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry, File)

ATLANTIC CITY — Here’s all you need to know about how fast sports betting is growing in New Jersey: The East Coast state took in more sports bets last month than Nevada did to lead the nation.

According to gambling regulators in both states, New Jersey saw $318.9 million worth of bets, edging Nevada, which took in $317.4 million.

From those bets, New Jersey casinos and racetracks made $15.5 million in revenue, compared with $11.6 million in Nevada.

New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case in May 2018 that cleared the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting should they so choose.

And it jumped into the market with both feet with the goal of dethroning Nevada as the sports betting capital of America.

“It was only a matter of time,” said Jay Kornegay, head of the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas. “States with higher population numbers will continue to surpass Nevada, and New Jersey has a population of 9 million, not counting (people from) surrounding states, versus Nevada’s 2.5 million.”

He said one of the reasons Nevada slipped behind New Jersey is comparatively fewer NBA basketball playoff games this year.

Since it took its first sports bet in June 2018, New Jersey has taken in more than $3 billion in sports bets. Nevada handled $5.2 billion in sports bets over roughly the same period.

It remains to be seen if New Jersey can maintain its lead with large neighboring states either offering sports betting or considering it. Pennsylvania, its neighbor to the west, already offers sports betting, including mobile wagering. And New York is struggling with sports betting legislation that has been bogged down over whether to approve mobile betting.

Kornegay said New Jersey could maintain its lead, but will likely be challenged by Pennsylvania’s growth, and the eventual entry of New York into the mobile betting market.

Nevada is still — literally — the nation’s go-to destination for sports betting, with gamblers flocking to Las Vegas for big events like the Super Bowl or the NCAA college basketball tournament.

That is something New Jersey is trying to replicate; casinos continue to plow tens of millions of dollars into physical sportsbooks to capture in-person sports betting business. Within the last week in Atlantic City, the Borgata and Bally’s opened expanded sportsbooks worth more than $20 million.

The investment is coming even as 80 percent of sports bets in New Jersey are taken online or via smartphones, a percentage that industry officials expect to increase to 90% within the next 5 to 10 years.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments