Major League Baseball is stealing the spotlight this week. Just when fans were thinking there was little hope of a 2020 season taking place, something happened.
The two sides started talking again, believe it or not.
We advise holding back the excitement until an actual deal is reached, though.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released May numbers on Friday. And the NJ online casino industry made the biggest headlines, reporting $85.9 million in revenue, which is an all-time high.
NJ sports betting handle came in at $117.8 million. Considering the limited options, the number isn’t too shabby.
Plus, some pretty big news came out of Atlantic City. It seems plans for demolishing the giant eyesore known as Trump Plaza are coming together.
As far as live sports go, the Belmont Stakes and the PGA Tour RBC Heritage headline the weekend card.
Here are the latest headlines making New Jersey gambling news this week.
What’s the story with MLB returning?
The 2020 MLB season is burning up Twitter. Anyone who tries to write a story about the current state of the game will likely be making last-minute revisions.
However, until the full plan is revealed, NJ sportsbook apps are mulling several what-if scenarios. Setting regular-season win totals, for instance, is a little difficult without knowing the schedule or the number of games.
“They may decide they’re going to play and we have like two weeks’ lead time to prepare. I think that’s where the challenge is.”
PointsBet NJ is one of several operators taking a wait-and-see approach.
Andrew Mannino, senior sports content analyst at PointsBet, weighed in:
“Like everyone, we want to see baseball, and we’re hoping they will come to an agreement and get the season underway.”
A letter from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred gives baseball fans across the country hope.
Here’s Commissioner Manfred. With deal at hand he’s suggesting everyone start planning for a season. https://t.co/woLtyBNQFF
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 17, 2020
A closer look at NJ online gambling numbers
Normally, when people hear a monthly handle of $117.8 million, the immediate reaction is “That’s it?”
We are talking about an NJ sports betting industry that generated $4.6 billion in bets last year. May, however, marked the third straight month of limited sports options as a result of the global pandemic.
But there is something positive to note. The May result more than doubled the $54.6 million handle reported for April.
Plus, things are looking up following last weekend’s return of the PGA Tour.
With Atlantic City casinos still closed, New Jersey gamblers have found a suitable alternative. So the chances of June producing similar returns are looking pretty good.
Here’s the lingering question: How many of these players will keep clicking once the land-based slots are operating again?
A brief word about reopening Atlantic City
Atlantic City is a hot topic these days, and for good reason.
Garden State residents want to know if casinos will be open by the Fourth of July weekend. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for Gov. Phil Murphy to make that decision.
What we do know is that Hard Rock Atlantic City and its fellow casinos will be ready to go. The company shared an update earlier this week announcing the details of its Safe + Sound program.
Gambling halls are a big part of Atlantic City’s past and present, and welcoming customers back safely is important to its future.
Trump Plaza demolition plans in the works
However, the bigger news to come out of AC this week centers around a building that has been closed since 2014.
Trump Plaza, the former hotel and casino sitting at the center of the Boardwalk, is literally crumbling apart. Just try walking past it on a windy day.
Well, following years of delays, a solution is being finalized. Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. held a press conference in front of the property last Thursday to make a major announcement:
“I am proud to announce that last week, plans were dropped off to our construction office for demolition.”
The main building and the East Tower will be imploded.
Hold off reserving a front-row seat for the demo. The exact date is undecided at this point, but it definitely will not be taking place during the prime summer season.
Belmont Stakes leads off the Triple Crown race
OK, there is no way around the fact that 2020 may go down as one of the scariest and wackiest years in American history.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Triple Crown season is completely out of whack. The Belmont Stakes, which is traditionally the third leg, is instead the first one out of the starting gates.
Post time is approximately 5:42 EST on Saturday. And fans who are accustomed to watching the simulcast at New Jersey racetracks will have to make other plans.
Monmouth Park, Meadowlands Racetrack and Freehold Raceway are operating without spectators.
Wagers, however, can still be made via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.
Tiz the Law is the favorite at 6-5.
On the board at NJ sportsbooks
Philadelphia 76ers fans looking for some NBA betting options, sit tight. The restart date is fast approaching.
Same deal with betting on the NHL.
Golf wagering, on the other hand, is more popular than ever thanks to major pro sports still sitting on the sidelines. The RBC Heritage is up next.
The event gets underway today in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Tiger Woods is not participating.
FanDuel Sportsbook and several other NJ sportsbooks are offering different betting options.
- Outright winner
- Leader after round 1
- Match betting
As far as the favorite goes, it was Rory McIlroy, but with action already in play, the favorite is shifting. McIlroy is now +5000 to win it.
Ian Poulter, Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Speith and Justin Thomas are among the current favorites, each at +1400 as of this morning.