New Jersey Sports Betting Update: $1B Threshold Crossed, Voters Dubious On Local Colleges

Sports bettors in New Jersey like to gamble to the tune of $1 billion but apparently not on their own college teams. 

Monday, the state released data showing its sportsbooks wrote $1,011,114, 311 in handle in September, making New Jersey the first state to cross the $1 billion threshold in a single month.

That staggering figure comes on the heels of a poll released late last month indicating many New Jersey voters aren’t interested in expanding sports betting options, at least if those options relate to local college teams.

According to the poll from Stockton University, 45% of likely voters in next month’s general election are opposed to a statewide referendum that would allow for Garden State residents to bet on college athletic events held in the state or in-state colleges playing elsewhere, while 40% support the idea. 

Record-Breaking Month For Sports Betting

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released its September figures Monday. 

The overwhelming majority of the sports betting handle was placed with online sportsbooks. Of the $1.01 billion, more than $918 million came from internet-based wagers. 

Further breaking down the numbers, the American Gaming Association took to Twitter to highlight the $82.4 million in sports betting revenue, noting it was a “national monthly record.”

Since the Supreme Court legalized sports betting in 2018, New Jersey has been leading the way for states

It has nearly two dozen online sportsbooks, and most of the retail casinos in the state accept sports bets, too. 

“New Jersey reaped the benefit of being an early adopter of sports betting,” Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the gambling industry, told the Associated Press

“By embracing mobile sportsbooks and making sports betting more accessible than even Nevada, New Jersey has now achieved an important milestone of more than $1 billion wagered on sports in a single month.”

The state has no doubt been helped by the fact New Yorkers are anxious for legal betting and will even bike across the George Washington Bridge to place bets in New Jersey. The Empire State recently approved sports betting, but the industry has not yet launched there.

November Referendum On Expanded Sports Betting Lags In Poll

Rutgers is currently 0-4 in the Big Ten football standings, and Seton Hall hasn’t made it to the Sweet 16 in the men’s NCAA Tournament since Bill Clinton was president. 

So is it any surprise that New Jersey voters aren’t angling to place bets on their own college athletes?  It could be a case of them just not even realizing the issue is on the ballot. 

Election Day for New Jersey is two weeks from Tuesday, but much of the oxygen has been taken up by the governor’s race and state legislative races. 

Sports betting went live in New Jersey shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the federal law prohibiting it. But because of fears that legalized betting may compromise the integrity of college athletes, it is restricted when it comes to local colleges.

It’s clear there is an appetite for sports betting in the state, but how that translates to in-state collegiate activities is not as clean cut. 

The September poll indicated 14% of voters were undecided.  

But that poll won’t be the last word before Nov. 2.  A new poll from Stockton, expected to be released next week, will also look at just the sports betting issue, a spokeswoman for the school said in an email to Gaming Today.

About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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