Richard Morgan, New York Post
Watch out, Vegas: Here comes New Jersey.
It’s been little more than a year since the Garden State legalized sports betting, but the home of the Sopranos and Bruce Springsteen is already poised to overtake Nevada as the sports betting capital of the US, experts say.
New York’s neighbor west of the Hudson River is slated to take the crown from Nevada as soon as this year — thanks to the NFL, according to Alex Kostin, founder of AmericanGambler.com, a sports betting community and website devoted to legalized gambling data.
That’s because the NFL’s new season, which kicks off Thursday, will open the floodgates of sports bettors flocking from New York City and Philadelphia to close what has been a fast-narrowing gap in total wagers, Kostin told The Post.
NJ’s total sports gambling handle during last year’s season from September through January was $1.5 billion — despite the fact that sports betting had only become legal in the state last June.
Nevada’s, meanwhile, was $2.7 billion — a total that doesn’t look so impressive by comparison, considering that on-site sports betting has been legal in Nevada since 1949 — and online since 2010.
Indeed, it only took 11 months for New Jersey to overtake Nevada’s sportsbook wagerson a monthly basis when it booked $318.9 million worth of sports bets in May, versus $318.3 million for Nevada. NJ did it again in July, with sports bets that month coming in at $251 million, versus $235 million for Nevada.
Kostin expects New Jersey to widen its lead throughout the NFL’s 2019-20 season — thanks largely to NJ now having more than double the online sports betting sites it did last year.
Indeed, when the NFL season kicked off last year, New Jersey had only eight physical betting sites and seven online outlets. This year the state will offer 10 physical locations and 15 online sites, plus five more soon to come online.
Online sports betting already accounts for 80 percent of total wagers in New Jersey — 20 percent of which are placed by New Yorkers while traveling through the state, according to AmericanGambler.com. Bettors must physically be in New Jersey to legally bet on sports through NJ sports betting apps, but it’s a short trip by train or car from NYC or Philly.
Driving to Las Vegas from Los Angeles, by contrast, takes five hours.
Chris Krafcik, a managing director at industry research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, agreed it’s “inevitable the New Jersey sports betting market, in terms of handle generated, will surpass the Nevada market. New Jersey, after all, has an appreciably larger local population — and a far more robust online marketplace — than Nevada does.”
New Jersey’s 9 million population, not including 8.5 million nearby New York City residents, compares to just 2.5 million in Nevada.