As the de facto leader of sports gambling legalization, the state of New Jersey is quickly approaching its one-year anniversary and has entered its first full fiscal year of existence. All eyes are on the Garden State as other states look to them for guidance as others compete directly for their customers. They did bring this upon themselves after all. They were Patient Zero and the state which brought the case to the Supreme Court that ended the PASPA, essentially legalizing sports gambling in the United States. So as they enter the new year, let’s check in and see how they are handling all of the attention.
Tough Super Sunday
Super Bowl Sunday did no favors for New Jersey sports betting operators in their first attempt at the biggest sporting event of the year. The statistics released last Monday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show their sportsbooks took a $4.5 million loss on all Super Bowl betting. The state’s sports betting operators paid out a nice total of $39,469,147 in winning tickets for the Patriots victory over the Rams. Super Bowl bettors put up a total of $34,894,900 on the game, leading to a major victory for the gambling public. The Patriots registered as heavy betting favorites throughout the country, but with their regional proximity to New England, New Jersey likely took an over-sized risk during the game when compared to other states and other markets.
The Patriots victory while covering cost the FanDuel Sportsbook $5 million between its losses and the free promo bets they offered for the big game. FanDuel ended up with 75 percent of overall money on the Patriots after seeing its exposure grow as high as 90 percent earlier in the week. Things were much the same for the DraftKings Sportsbook as well. The state’s top mobile operator in sports betting suffered a loss of more than $1 million, according to a company spokesman. Again, the key was regionality, and William Hill‘s results show what the difference in locations can mean. The company’s Nevada operation registered a small win on the Super Bowl, while its East Coast books took a small loss.
New Jersey is Doing Well in New York
State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. of New York is concerned his state’s opportunity for sports betting is falling too far behind as New York City residents become very accustomed to placing their wagers in New Jersey. He feels if the state waits three years to go through a constitutional amendment process to offer mobile sports betting, it could be too late as residents would choose to stick with New Jersey sports betting permanently.
Addabbo, who represents Queens, says he has received emails from his constituents stating they are tired of having to go to New Jersey for legal sports betting. “People get into a rhythm in lifestyle and get used to it,” Addabbo said. “I’m hoping that they change their lifestyle and utilize our apps and facilities. We need to capture their money here before people get too comfortable jumping to Jersey.” Of course, that will prove to be difficult.
Last week, the New York State Gaming Commission issued preliminary rules and regulations for four upstate commercial casinos to offer sports betting. However, in what many feel was a major misstep, it completely left out mobile NY sports betting. Not only is there this hurdle to clear, but representatives of Governor Andrew Cuomo have indicated he believes a constitutional amendment will be necessary in order to expand sports betting to mobile and online.
This has been debated in other states. It has also been completely avoided in other states, and Addabbo and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow have countered that servers being located at the casinos should be enough to satisfy constitutional requirements, as in other markets. Addabbo likened it to other daily activities:
“In this day and age, we do everything from ordering food to purchasing movie tickets through the phone. Mobile is part of our daily lives. Doing something as big as sports betting or any other type of gaming and cutting out the mobile aspect really leaves us in the 20th century, and I’d like to stay in the 21st century.”
Cuomo recently warned that state tax revenues are $2.3 billion below projections for the fiscal year ending in March. “The need for revenue has certainly increased,” Addabbo said. “When looking for revenue, looking to increase education funding and create jobs, there it is right in front of you in regard to mobile sports betting.”
There’s also the matter of New York’s dire fiscal situation, and at a time when any revenue is important revenue, this may be the chance they need to get it done. It may be wise to for New Jersey to take full advantage of the extra revenue, as it may not be around too much longer.