Sports betting is now legal in New Jersey.
In May, the US Supreme Court handed down its decision in Murphy vs. NCAA — the so-called NJ sports betting case. The court ruled 6-3 to repeal the federal ban called PASPA, allowing states to legalize and regulate sports betting at their discretion.
NJ moved quickly once the prohibition fell. Lawmakers unanimously passed a new bill in early June, and Gov. Phil Murphy signed it into law without much delay. The first NJ sportsbooks opened their windows on June 14 — exactly one month after the SCOTUS decision. The first NJ online sports betting site went live statewide on Aug. 6. DraftKings Sportsbook got the official OK from NJ regulators after an initial soft-launch period.
New Jersey Sportsbooks
The June 2018 Group
Monmouth Park was the first to go live in a partnership with William Hill US. The horse racing track in Oceanport had spent several years and several million dollars preparing to accept sports wagers.
Borgata opened the first betting windows in Atlantic City the same day, with parent company MGM managing the action there. Both properties have converted existing spaces into combination race-and-sports books.
The third property to open its doors was the new Ocean Resort Casino. Ocean Resort opened to great fanfare on Jun. 28.
For the time being, Ocean Resort holds the distinction of being the only non-Las Vegas casino to have a sports betting operation from its very first day. The new casino partnered with William Hill to open a temporary facility. A permanent sports betting venue will open sometime in 2018.
The New Yorker
The FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack opened for business on July 14. The new sportsbook distinguished itself by its close proximity to New York City.
The New York legislature did the new wagering site a major favor by failing to pass sports betting legislation in 2018. As a result, the Meadowlands is the closest place to bet on sports for the 10 million inhabitants of the nation’s largest city and surrounding areas.
The FanDuel Sportsbook is also the only sportsbook located within walking distance of a major sports league venue. MetLife Stadium, the home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets, is located inside the same complex as the racetrack.
The Caesars Duo
Caesars Entertainment threw its hat into the ring in the latter part of July 2018. The gaming giant managed to open sportsbooks at two of its Atlantic City locations in the span of three days.
The first Caesars property to open was the sportsbook at Wild Wild West Casino, which is part of the Bally’s complex on the Boardwalk. This book began accepting wagers on Jul. 30.
Soon afterward, Harrah’s Atlantic City declared its sports betting facility open. The debut presented the Borgata sportsbook with its first competition in the Atlantic City Marina District.
Caesars Atlantic City does not have a physical sportsbook onsite, and so far, there are no indications that one will soon exist. However, as part of licensing the properties, the parent company secured online licenses for all three locations.
So, that brings the total number of brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in New Jersey to six. With the football season close at hand, that number is likely to grow. The revenue potential is too great to ignore.
A mature, fully established NJ sports betting market could field as much as $10 billion in annual wagers, according to some estimates. Read more about NJ sports betting revenue here.
NJ online sports betting sites and sportsbooks
The DraftKings Sportsbook app is now available for download statewide. Players can register and place bets via the mobile app and website.
MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren also quietly dropped a bombshell at the MGM/NBA press conference on Aug. 31. He said that he expects playMGM to launch its own sports betting app very soon. MGM was unable to beat out DraftKings however, which became the first online sports betting app outside Nevada.
So, New Jersey may have two options for betting sports on mobile devices before the first NFL preseason game even plays. Stay tuned, as these sorts of announcements are occurring rapidly.
Here’s what we know about the sports betting plans of Atlantic City casinos and North Jersey racinos right now:
|Casino/racetrack||Sportsbook?||Online/mobile sports betting?||Sports betting partner||Launch date|
|Borgata||Open||Early August||IGT||Opened June 14; mobile by early August|
|Resorts||Planned||Yes||DraftKings/Kambi; SBTech||Soft launch on week of Jul. 30|
|Ocean Resort||Open||Probably||William Hill||Opened June 28; mobile unknown|
|Monmouth Park||Open||Probably||William Hill||Opened June 14; mobile unknown|
|Meadowlands||Planned||Planned||Fanduel Sportsbook||Opened July 14; mobile unknown|
|Harrah's||Planned||Planned||Scientific Games||Opened Aug. 1; mobile unknown|
|Golden Nugget||Probably||Golden Nugget Sportsbook||Likely SBTech||Unknown|
|Caesars||Planned||888 Sport (skin)||Scientific Games||Mid-August|
|Bally's||Open||Planned||Scientific Games||Opened July 30; mobile unknown|
Latest NJ sports betting news
After DraftKings Sportsbook stole the headlines last week, its land-based casino partner Resorts AC plans to open its on-property sportsbook this week.
Deals between casinos, sports betting stakeholders, DFS companies, and even professional sports leagues are occuring at a lightning pace. Here’s why.
DraftKings Sportsbook was the first operator in New Jersey to launch a mobile product. Here’s a few guesses at how the DFS giant managed that feat.
NJ sportsbook reviews
Here are the sportsbooks that are already open in New Jersey:
The 72-year-old racetrack in Oceanport had plans in place for NJ sports betting before it was even legal. Monmouth partnered with William Hill US way back in 2013 with plans to build a new sportsbook in the future. On June 14, 2018, the Monmouth Park sportsbook officially opened and took the first legal bets in New Jersey from Murphy. The Monmouth Park Sportsbook By William Hill is open at the following times:
- Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Saturday: 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Sunday: 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Borgata Atlantic City
A half-hour after Monmouth Park took the first legal bets in the state, Borgata in Atlantic City opened its sportsbook with Philadelphia 76ers legend, Julius Erving, taking part in the ceremony. The Atlantic City casino, like Monmouth, turned its existing racebook into combination race/sports books. The site includes 100 seats with individual flat-screen monitors, 10 betting windows, a video wall with screens to view all major international athletic and race events, and an in-venue bar. The sportsbook is open daily starting at 11 a.m. (dependent on sports programming).
Ocean Resort Casino Atlantic City
On June 28, Ocean Resort Casino officially opened its doors, bringing NJ sports betting to the Boardwalk. The William Hill sportsbook opened albeit in a temporary spot. The planned state-of-the-art sportsbook remains under construction but is expected to be operational by the start of football season. As of this writing, the Ocean Resort sportsbook is open from 9 a.m. to midnight daily. Weekend hours will be extended to 2 a.m. after a few weeks.
FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack
FanDuel opened its first true sportsbook at The Meadowlands Racetrack on Jul. 14. The facility opened as the nearest sports betting location to New York City. It will retain this title at least through the end of 2018 due to regulatory issues in New York state. The FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack is open at the following times:
- Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 a.m.
- Saturday: 9 a.m. – 2 a.m.
- Sunday: 9 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Bally’s Atlantic City/Wild Wild West
This sportsbook opened for business on July 30. Seven Star Rewards member Scarlette Hedgepeth placed the first bet at the new facility. Fittingly, she bet $100 on the Dallas Cowboys at the Western-themed casino. The sportsbook is now open for business during the following hours:
- Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Harrah’s Atlantic City
Harrah’s AC opened a sports betting location on Aug. 1, two days after its sister property, Bally’s. The casino opened the wagering with a bit more flair and had Elvis and Frank Sinatra impersonators place the first bets. The new sportsbook shares the same business hours as its Boardwalk counterpart:
- Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
NJ sports betting FAQ
Who regulates NJ sports betting?
The NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement regulates all gambling in the state, including sports betting.
Where can I bet on sports in NJ?
All NJ gambling licensees are permitted to offer sports betting. That includes both the Atlantic City casinos and North Jersey racetracks.
So far, Monmouth Park and Borgata have the only two sportsbooks in operation.
What about mobile/internet sports betting?
The law allows for mobile and internet wagering to begin in July, at the expiration of a 30-day waiting period. Licensees must have a physical sports lounge in order to offer online wagering.
What sports can I bet on?
Bets are accepted on all professional sports. It’s also legal to bet on most college sports, excluding contests involving New Jersey teams and venues.
What colleges are excluded?
The collegiate betting restriction primarily affects the state’s two Division I schools — Rutgers and Seton Hall.
Other NJ sports betting restrictions?
The law prohibits owners and other key members of sports leagues/franchises from booking wagers on their own league.
For NJ, this restriction applies to the Golden Nugget alone. Its owner, Tilman Fertitta, also owns the Houston Rockets of the NBA. The Nugget’s sportsbook, therefore, will not be permitted to take action on NBA games.
What about esports?
Nobody is currently offering NJ esports betting, but it’s approved with limitations.
Regulations allow betting on “all professional electronic sports and competitive video game events that are not sponsored by high schools, do not include high school teams, and do not include any participant under the age of 18 years.”
What about NJ daily fantasy sports?
Not only is daily fantasy sports legal in NJ, the two largest DFS companies are preparing to court the NJ sports betting market.
Resorts Atlantic City recently partnered with DraftKings for its future sportsbook. Paddy Power Betfair also bought FanDuel and followed that news with a partnership with Meadowlands Racetrack for sports betting.
NJ sports betting law and regulations
NJ sports betting became legal with a signature from Gov. Phil Murphy on June 11, 2018 — a Monday. Emergency regulations were published that same Wednesday, and the first sportsbook opened at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Here’s the basic legal and regulatory framework for NJ sports betting:
- Allows sports betting to be conducted at NJ casinos and racetracks
- Authorizes both land-based (currently live) and mobile/internet wagering (starting July 11)
- Approves wagering on all professional sports and most collegiate events
- Sets the structure for licensing fees
- Casino license: ≥ $200,000
- Internet gaming permit: ≥ $400,000 (renewal: ≥ 250,000; Responsible Gaming Fee: $250,000)
- Sports wagering license: $100,000 (renewal: ≥ $100,000)
- Casino Control Fund retainer: $250,000
- Taxes revenue at separate rates for casinos and racetracks, and for in-person and online wagering
- Casinos: 8.5 percent for in-person; 13 percent for online
- Tracks: 8.5 percent for in-person; 14.25 percent for online
History of NJ sports betting
Here’s the condensed timeline of legal NJ sports betting:
2017-2018: SCOTUS rules; NJ launches sports betting
In January 2017, the US Supreme Court asks acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall to file a brief in the NJ sports betting case. Wall weighs in on the state’s bid for appeal in May, advising the court to take a pass.
SCOTUS follows that advice about 80 percent of the time, but it does not do so in this instance. In June, the court agrees to hear one hour of oral arguments from the two sides.
On December 4, the stakeholders head to Washington, D.C. to offer testimony before the highest court in the land. Most experts and pundits in attendance suggest that the proceedings go very favorably for the state.
On May 14, 2018, Justice Samuel Alito releases the majority opinion in the updated Murphy vs. NCAA. New Jersey wins 6-3, and a broad repeal of PASPA paves the way for state-based regulation. Finally — finally — the issue meets its ultimate legal outcome at the federal level.
The state puts the final pieces in place quickly thereafter. Lawmakers in both chambers unanimously pass a new bill on June 7, and Gov. Phil Murphy signs it into law on June 11. Two days later, the DGE publishes a set of emergency regulations to get the industry off the ground.
NJ sports betting goes live on Thursday, May 14 just after 10:30 a.m. The governor places the first two bets at Monmouth Park — $20 each on Germany (7/2) and the New Jersey Devils (40/1) futures.
2014-2016: Christie vs. NCAA II
After striking out in its first attempt to legalize sports betting, New Jersey switches stances for a second at-bat in 2014.
Gov. Chris Christie issues an order that lifts the state’s own ban on sports betting in September. Repealing a prohibition, he argues, is different than passing a new law (and would not violate PASPA). On October 17, the governor signs a bill that makes his position official.
The bill is an updated version of the Sports Wagering Act from Sen. Ray Lesniak. It moves to allow the state’s casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting, but without any regulatory oversight from the state. NJ sports betting even gets a launch date. Monmouth Park plans to open the first NJ sportsbook on October 26.
The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA file for an injunction, however, asserting that sports betting outside of Nevada would cause irreparable harm to their brands and businesses. “The leagues” argue that the legal distinction Christie is trying to make is invalid. Courts had already ruled, on several occasions, that NJ could not allow sports betting.
The US District Court grants a temporary injunction on Oct. 24 — just two days before launch. A week later, Judge Michael Shipp turns his temporary order into a permanent injunction, granting final summary judgment in favor of the leagues. His ruling once again affirms that PASPA is constitutional and supersedes state law.
New Jersey appeals (again) in March 2015 and the parties present arguments before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia once more. The state contends that its new law is in line with the previous rulings in the first round of litigation. Another ruling, however, sides with the leagues by the same 2-1 vote.
The state appeals (yet again), this time asking an en banc panel to rehear the case. In a rare move, the court agrees to do so in February 2016. The end result is the same, though, as nine of the 12 judges side with the leagues. Again.
Having exhausted all other legal avenues, NJ appeals to the US Supreme Court for a second time. To the surprise of many, SCOTUS agrees to hear the case.
2012-2014: Christie vs. NCAA I
The situation escalates as the calendar rolls over to 2012.
On January 9, the NJ legislature passes the Sports Wagering Act, penned by Sen. Ray Lesniak.
Gov. Chris Christie signs the bill into law eight days later, and sports betting is officially on the books in NJ.
Not so fast, say the sports leagues.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and National Hockey League (NHL) file suit against Christie and other state officials in an attempt to block the establishment of NJ sports betting.
Their complaint, filed in US District Court, argues that NJ-regulated sports betting would violate federal law — namely, PASPA. The state, on the other hand, contends that PASPA is unconstitutional under core principles of anti-commandeering.
In February 2013, Judge Michael Shipp upholds PASPA, ruling in favor of the leagues and striking down the Sports Wagering Act. It’s the first of many, many losses for the state.
Christie appeals to the Third Circuit in September with the same result. Two of three appellate judges vote to uphold the lower ruling. The state then tries with the US Supreme Court, which declines to even hear the case.
Something interesting emerges within the proceedings, however. The state takes the position that, while it can not regulate sports betting, it can remove its own prohibitions — essentially decriminalizing the activity altogether.
That understanding sets the stage for a second, more ferocious battle between the state and the sports leagues.
2009-2011: Setting the stage for NJ sports betting
Beginning in 2009, longtime Sen. Ray Lesniak formulates a plan to sue the federal government and challenge the constitutionality of PASPA.
Lesniak argues that the billions of dollars in illegal, offshore wagers should be retained and taxed by the state. In fact, the former senator claims, legal sports betting could contribute more than $100 million in annual tax revenue.
The first step is to address the state’s own prohibitions.
In 2011, lawmakers propose a constitutional amendment allowing sports betting at NJ casinos and racetracks, both in-person and over the internet. Voters approve the amendment by a 64 percent margin — 648,769 to 367,283 — clearing the first legislative hurdle with ease. (Spoiler: There will be many more hurdles to come.)
Less than two weeks after the vote, Lesniak introduces the Sports Wagering Act to legalize the activity in black and white. Senate committees approve the bill in December.
1992: US Congress passes PASPA
The US Congress passes the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), making sports betting illegal at the federal level.
Nevada sports betting is grandfathered in, and a few other states have narrow exemptions for things such as football squares and parlay cards. The remaining states are given one year to apply for their own relief, but none do — including New Jersey.
Read more: NJ sports betting case
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- Done Deal: West Virginia Legalizes Sports Betting Pending US Supreme Court Decision
- MLB, NBA Now Lobbying On Sports Betting In Nearly A Dozen States
- Christie Talks NJ Sports Betting Case: ‘We’ll Win It In Either May Or June’
- The NFL Is Finally Stirring To Life On The Future Of US Sports Betting
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- Legal Sports Betting In The US Would Not Instantly Mean Legal Online Sports Betting
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