New Jersey was the driving force behind the widespread legalization of US online sports betting, thanks to the state’s 2018 victory in the US Supreme Court case about the federal sports gambling ban.
Now, the Garden is celebrating five years of NJ online sportsbooks after DraftKings Sportsbook became the first NJ sports betting app to go fully live on August 6, 2018.
We have seen a lot over five years. But here are five things to know about sports betting in New Jersey on this anniversary that helped set off huge changes in gambling across the country.
1. NJ sports betting has generated the most handle and revenue
Since the start of the expansion of legal sports betting in the United States in 2018, New Jersey has been the biggest market in the country.
There have been nearly $40 billion in bets in the state, with operators generating $2.8 billion in gross gaming NJ sports betting revenue.
Those raw numbers surpass Nevada. Some larger states have launched more recently than New Jersey, and the likes of New York and Illinois now generate bigger handle and revenue numbers than NJ. But New Jersey is still one of the biggest sports betting markets in the country by any metric.
2. NJ has more online sportsbooks than any other state
In addition to being the state that helped set off the sports betting legalization craze, New Jersey is the state that offers the most sports betting apps in the country.
With 20 current sportsbooks operational, it’s currently slightly head of Colorado, which used to hold the title. But closures of betting apps in Colorado have given New Jersey the lead again, at least for now.
And that large number of sportsbooks was by design; New Jersey wanted to set up a competitive marketplace for online gambling much like exists for online casinos. That’s resulted in a number of positives for the state, such as:
- More tax dollars
- Consumer choice of nearly any sportsbook that operates in the US
- Partnerships between operators and licensees that help the state’s casinos and horse-racing tracks
3. NJ train stations were once a sports betting hot spot
It wasn’t that long ago that New Jersey sports betting was a draw for people who lived in New York.
Bettors would routinely make their way to train stations in New Jersey just to place bets on sports betting apps, then head back home.
Bettor tourism was a draw in many states before legalization became more widespread. But its biggest benefactor in the early years was definitely New Jersey. Of course, New York passed a law to legalize online sports betting in 2021 and launched in 2022, so train stations are no longer big betting hubs.
4. DraftKings wasn’t destined to be a juggernaut in NJ sports betting
DraftKings Sportsbook NJ is one of the leaders among sportsbooks in New Jersey and No. 2 nationally in marketshare behind FanDuel Sportsbook.
But when it launched in 2018, it wasn’t predestined that it was going to be that way. DraftKings started its journey as a daily fantasy sports operator in 2012, and had no experience as a sportsbook. But in the time before the fall of the federal sports betting ban, DraftKings had been working behind the scenes on its sports betting technology.
That gamble that sports betting would start expanding outside of Nevada paid off almost instantly, with DraftKings being the first to market in New Jersey with an app.
That speed to market along with a known brand and a database of daily fantasy sports users that were ready to bet on sports led to DraftKings’ current position in New Jersey and beyond.
5. NJ sports betting is here to stay
Unless New Jersey’s legislature makes a major change, you can expect sports betting to stay alive in the Garden State for the foreseeable future.
That’s in contrast to the older online casino and poker law, which has been around for more than a decade. State lawmakers decided to extend the legality of online casinos for just five years, meaning it’s at least feasible it goes away in the long term.
But none of that affects NJ online sports betting, which remains legal via a 2018 law into perpetuity.