The start of the football season has led to a near doubling of sports betting in the resort, a growth rate that rivals Las Vegas.

Nearly $184 million was bet on sports in New Jersey last month, up from nearly $96 million in August, according to the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

“Driven by the explosive growth in sports wagering and continuing improvements in Internet gaming and brick-and-mortar casino win results, the gaming industry produced another month of superb revenue increases,” said David Rebuck, director of the division. “The revenue results point to a strong finish for New Jersey’s gaming industry in 2018.”

Overall casino revenue, including sports betting and internet gaming, was up nearly $46 million over last September. In September, total gaming revenue totaled $281.7 million, while in September 2017 it totaled more than $235.8 million.

“Since sports betting tends to be a social event, we should also expect to see corresponding growth in lodging, food and beverage, and entertainment revenues,” Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University in Atlantic City. “Atlantic City continues to thrive on its collective strength as a destination resort providing visitors a host of memorable experiences to cherish.”

“We always knew football was the driving force. We expected them to spike but not this much,” said James T. Plousis, chairman of the state Casino Control Commission. “They (the casinos) have done a good job raising the level of what a sports book looks like.”

Since it began in mid-June, sports betting has attracted over $336 million in bets in the state. The industry in New Jersey has been keeping just under 8 percent of the amount bet as earnings after winning bets are paid out.

“After seeing September, it is a very real possibility that New Jersey could surpass Nevada as the country’s largest sports betting market by the end of the year,” said Dustin Gouker, lead sports betting analyst for PlayNJ.com. “With New Jersey’s population base, it is hard to see where the ceiling is right now. Even when Pennsylvania launches sports betting, New Jersey should continue its upward swing.”

Following a U.S. Supreme Court decision in May to overturn a federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada, casinos and racetracks in New Jersey began offering the new amenity in June.

Ocean Resort, which opened at the site of the former Revel Casino Hotel on June 27, began offering sports betting immediately and partnered with William Hill U.S. Ocean Resort is one of six sports books in Atlantic City casinos, with others at Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s Resort and Resorts Casino Hotel. Tropicana Atlantic City, which just recently came under new ownership, and William Hill are expected to open a sports book later this year.

“The sharp growth in September was not unexpected,” Gouker said. “But as powerful as September’s numbers were, there is still so much more room for growth. As more online and land-based sportsbooks hit the market, and customers become more familiar with the products, wagering will rapidly expand.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Contact: 609-272-7046 nhuba@pressofac.com Twitter @acpresshuba

Started working in newsrooms when I was 17 years old. Spent 15 years working for Gannett New Jersey before coming to The Press of Atlantic City in April 2015.

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