Sports betting in New Jersey is off and running. Since the May 14 decision, Atlantic City casinos and NJ racetracks move fast into the market. Three months in and the legal NJ sports betting world is up, up, and away.
Gov. Phil Murphy placed the first sports bet in New Jersey at Monmouth Park and kicked off a new era of sports betting in the Garden State.
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Where can I bet on sports in New Jersey?
At present, there are eight locations where you can bet on sports in New Jersey. They are:
- Monmouth Park Racetrack
- Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
- Ocean Resort Casino
- Meadowlands Racetrack
- Bally’s/Wild Wild West
- Harrah’s Atlantic City
- Golden Nugget AC
- Resorts Casino
Monmouth Park Racetrack
Monmouth Park Racetrack was the first location in New Jersey to accept wagers on sports. Its acceptance of Murphy’s bet on June 14 beat Borgata to the betting window by a half hour.
William Hill, the US arm of the British sports betting giant, operates Monmouth Park’s sportsbook. In a testament to William Hill’s business acumen, the company entered into a partnership with the racetrack back in 2013.
It also spent several millions to convert the Monmouth Park cafeteria into the Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill. Though the facility acted as a glorified sports bar for several years, it is now realizing its true function on a daily basis.
The sportsbook is open seven days a week. Its hours of operation are typically 10 a.m. EST to 1 a.m. EST, with longer hours on the weekends.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Borgata began accepting sports wagers June 14, a half hour after Monmouth Park begin its service. For the time being, players will use the former racebook for sports and race betting.
However, Borgata should receive an upgrade from its parent company, MGM Resorts International, in the very near future. MGM announced plans to build a $7 million sportsbook in November 2017, and there are no indications that those plans have changed.
Borgata is using IGT‘s platform to run its sportsbook operations. IGT’s status as a leading gaming software company meant that its solution was well-suited for Borgata’s needs.
Borgata’s sportsbook is open at 11 a.m. EST every day. There are 100 individual observation carrels and 10 betting windows available for players to wager in comfort.
Ocean Resort Casino
Ocean Resort opened its doors on June 28 to great fanfare. The former Revel kicked off its festivities with blessings from owner Bruce Deifik and actor Mark Wahlberg, whose Wahlburgers franchise will open a location inside the new casino.
Ocean Resort began accepting sports wagers along with all other types of betting from the outset. After weeks of operating with a temporary facility, Ocean Resort now has a permanent facility for customers.
The William Hill Sportsbook is 7,500 square feet of brand-new space for sports bettors. In all likelihood, it is the premier sportsbook facility on the Boardwalk.
The William Hill Sportsbook is open from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily.
The FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack
Daily fantasy sports titan FanDuel opened its very first sportsbook operation at Meadowlands Racetrack. The new facility began welcoming bettors on July 14.
FanDuel figures to see great volume in its new operation. The new facility is located a mere six miles from New York City and its 10 million inhabitants.
So far, FanDuel is pleased with its performance. The first three days of operation yielded over $1 million in wagers.
Despite some growing pains, the nascent sportsbook should be a rousing success.
Bally’s/Wild Wild West
Bally’s opened on July 30. The Boardwalk casino opened wagering with a $100 bet from North Carolinian Scarlette Hedgepeth.
Fittingly, the first bet in the Western-themed sportsbook was on the Dallas Cowboys. The sportsbook is the second to open on the Boardwalk and the third in Atlantic City.
The new book’s hours are:
- Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
- Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Harrah’s Atlantic City
Harrah’s opened on Aug. 1 to greater fanfare than its sister property, Bally’s. The first bets at Harrah’s flagship property came courtesy of Elvis and Frank Sinatra impersonators.
However, Harrah’s has to step a bit sharper since Borgata and its sportsbook are just down the street. Harrah’s is the second sportsbook to open in Atlantic City’s Marina District.
Its hours of operation are identical to Bally’s:
- Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
- Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Golden Nugget opened its retail sportsbook to the public on Aug. 15, an hour and a half before Resorts was able to do so. The casino operated a temporary facility for a few weeks in its old poker room before operations moved into the permanent sportsbook.
At long last, the permanent facility is complete and open to the public. The new area has seating for 100, more than 50 televisions, 5 video walls, and self-service kiosks for wagering.
The Sportsbook at Golden Nugget is open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight.
Resorts Atlantic City
Resorts opened its temporary sportsbook on Aug. 15, becoming the first New Jersey casino to have both an online (DraftKings) and an in-house sportsbook in operation. The casino expects to launch its self-branded online sportsbook in September.
You can visit the Resorts sportsbook daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., though the hours are subject to change.
Where can I bet on sports online?
Online sports betting sites are just getting started, but there are now eight available in the state:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- SugarHouse Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- William Hill
- 888 Sport
The first major innovation is the betting carousel. In order to streamline the site for mobile play, DraftKings created a revolving wheel of suggested bets.
Each suggestion is based upon the individual player’s betting history and selected preferences. The betting carousel removes the need to click through endless screens on a smaller device.
DraftKings Sportsbook also offers a tremendous amount of flexibility and variety. Almost every type of betting is available, and players can place bets for as little as $0.10.
Finally, every bet onsite is subject to the live ticket system. The system allows players to cash out their wagers at almost any point during the contest.
Although a bettor pays a premium for the option (i.e. receives a reduced payout), the system makes it possible to book wins and negate the chances of a last-second collapse. Parlay bettors can also cash out if they’ve won the first or second leg of the bet, but don’t want to sweat the last game.
MGM debuted its online sportsbook on Aug. 22. The casino giant released its playMGM Sportsbook three weeks after CEO Jim Murren had indicated the site would be online.
Nevertheless, the tacit monopoly that DraftKings enjoyed finally came to an end. At this point, the system does have one major limitation.
PlayMGM Sportsbook is only available to Android users. Apple customers are out of luck, and there is no browser-based version, either.
The site is also completely separate from the Nevada version. The odds will be set differently in New Jersey, although that may not be a bad thing.
If playMGM’s release was long overdue, SugarHouse‘s debut the following day came out of nowhere. SugarHouse accepted its first sports wager online on the morning of Aug. 23.
The third sportsbook to join the party in New Jersey may also be the smoothest so far. For one thing, SugarHouse is the first site to fully integrate its sports betting with its online casino.
As a result, players can transition seamlessly between the different functions in the same location. The integration also means that players maintain a single wallet across the site, and rewards are available no matter what brand of betting the player chooses.
SugarHouse also has much of the functionality that DraftKings has. Kambi also designed the SugarHouse platform, and the flexibility and variety show as much. SugarHouse even offers a live ticket system to convert open tickets to payouts at any time.
William Hill entered the online sports betting market in New Jersey quietly. In fact, it’s possible that few even noticed the company’s entry.
Perhaps that attitude comes from William Hill’s long history and experience in the United States. William Hill is the top operator of sportsbooks in Nevada, which was the only game in town until May 2018.
As it happens, William Hill’s plan is merely to transfer its Nevada book over to New Jersey. At this time, only Android users have the ability to play the app. An iOS version is in the works, however.
FanDuel‘s entry into the online market came later than expected. After the DFS giant sprinted down the stretch in the land-based market, a mobile product launch would’ve made sense right away.
Nevertheless, FanDuel finally released its sports book, the result of a collaboration with parent company Paddy Power Betfair and technology stalwart IGT. So far, it seems that the app was worth the wait.
Its presentation is one of the slickest in New Jersey. Much like DFS rival DraftKings, the FanDuel app features a betting carousel and a wide variety of options.
Its lines, however, are less competitive. FanDuel is likely the app for the casual bettor.
Caesars entered the game as the sixth entrant in New Jersey. Much like the SugarHouse sportsbook, Caesars integrated its product into the existing online casino.
The Caesars sportsbook is a functional but spare site. It is a flat interface that gets the job done, but not much more.
Some of the more exciting and innovative ideas on other apps are nowhere to be found. However, for existing Caesars customers, the app represents a way to extend their options from the rest of the online gameplay.
Some of 888’s standout features are a different approach from other New Jersey sportsbooks. The first of these is its highly granular in-game betting.
Bets on events as small as single tennis points are available onsite. Bettors have the opportunity to make hundreds of wagers on a single game.
They can observe those events through 888’s other key feature, the game cast. This dynamic visual representation of the game allows players to watch the game without actually watching the game.
Still, 888 Sport will need to work on its pricing and lines. At present, those two aspects are not terribly competitive in the NJ sports betting market.
With a name like BetStars, it’s gotta be a big deal. And it is.
BetStars, the sports betting brand of The Stars Group and sister site to PokerStars NJ, launched a few days after 888 Sport. While there is no website access is available right now, BetStars does have an Android app. For Apple users, BetStars is connected to the PokerStars NJ iOS app.
Be that as it may, BetStars comes prepared for the expanding market with a bevy of promotions and deals. And the app is easy to use and navigate.
What are the sportsbook operators?
Sports betting is a unique proposition for casinos. If a sportsbook runs correctly, it can be immensely profitable without much risk.
However, there are so many variables and so much complexity to accurately setting lines and accepting sports wagers. As such, many casinos have decided to outsource their sportsbook operations to companies who specialize in the practice.
In a state such as Nevada, where sports betting has occurred for many years, it is possible for some of the larger casinos to run their own sportsbooks successfully. In a new market like New Jersey, subject matter experts on sportsbook operations are scarce, so the existing locations would rather partner with an international sports betting company such as William Hill.
Here are the official operators for sportsbooks or potential sportsbooks in New Jersey so far:
- IGT (Borgata)
- William Hill (Ocean Resort, Monmouth)
- DraftKings (Resorts)
- SBTech (Resorts)
- Betfair/FanDuel (Meadowlands)
- bet365 (Hard Rock)
The other Atlantic City casinos and NJ racetracks undoubtedly have sports betting on their minds. Here are all the gambling locations in New Jersey and the status of their endeavors into sports wagers:
|NJ Casino/Racetrack||Sports Betting Partner||Physical Sportsbook||Launch Date?||Online Sportsbook||Launch Date?|
|Monmouth Park||William Hill US||Yes||Open, June 14||Probably||Unknown|
|Ocean Resort Casino||William Hill US||Yes||Open, June 28||Probably||Unknown|
|Borgata||IGT||Yes||Open, June 14||PlayMGM||Active, Aug. 22|
|Meadowlands||Betfair/FanDuel||Yes||Open, July 14||Probably||Unknown|
|Bally's||Scientific Games||Yes||Open, July 30||Probably||Unknown|
|Harrah's||Scientific Games||Yes||Open, Aug. 1||Planned||Unknown|
|Golden Nugget||SBTech||Yes||Open, Aug. 15||Probably||Unknown|
|Resorts||DraftKings/SBTech||Yes||Open, Aug. 15||Probably||Unknown|
|Hard Rock Atlantic City||bet365||Probably||Unknown||Probably||Unknown|
*Borgata had a potential conflict of interest because its parent, MGM Resorts, owns the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces. However, because the ownership of the team is less than 1% of MGM’s holdings, sports betting is permitted at its properties.
**Golden Nugget’s sportsbook, whenever it opens, will not be able to accept wagers on the NBA. The company has a conflict of interest due to owner Tilman Fertitta’s ownership of the Houston Rockets.
What sports can I bet on in New Jersey?
Pretty much anything. Sports offered for wagering include:
- National Football League
- Major League Baseball
- National Basketball Association
- National Hockey League
- WTA Tennis
- MLS and World Cup Soccer
- UFC and other mixed martial arts
- PGA and LPGA Golf
What kinds of bets can I make?
The typical types of bets are available in New Jersey sportsbooks. You can make bets such as:
- Point spreads
What kinds of bets am I not allowed to make?
New Jersey has a specific group of sporting events that regulations forbid wagering. Most of these regulations are to protect athletic integrity or guard against conflicts of interest. They are:
- Wagering upon high school sports of any kind is prohibited. This rule is likely to be universal in any state with sports betting.
- There is no betting on collegiate events taking place inside the borders of New Jersey. This rule does not discriminate about the teams playing — even games where New Jersey is neutral ground fall under this rule.
- Bettors may not wager on collegiate events involving New Jersey colleges or universities. There can be no betting on these teams, even if the game takes place outside of New Jersey.
- Players, coaches, trainers, and other related personnel in a particular sport may not bet upon that sport in New Jersey.
Bottom line: Sports bettors around the country had Christmas come early. Nowhere is that more apparent than in New Jersey, which is poised for a long-overdue resurgence. With a new avenue of gambling and two new casinos, the Garden State is a gaming destination once again.
How long has New Jersey been trying to legalize sports betting?
The state first passed a bill legalizing sports wagering at racetracks and casinos in the Garden State in 2011. Professional and amateur sports leagues objected and took the state to court. Ultimately, the leagues were successful in having New Jersey’s first sports betting law struck down.
The state appealed but failed. It tried again in 2014, passing a second sports betting law. However, the leagues took them to court again and were successful in having New Jersey’s second sports betting law struck down.
The state’s appeals failed again until in the summer of 2017, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court released a decision declaring the federal ban on sports betting (PASPA) unconstitutional. That opened the door for New Jersey and all 50 states to legalize sports betting inside their borders.
Was New Jersey the first state outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting?
No. Considering all the work it did fighting to legalize sports betting, New Jersey hoped it could be first, but it was not to be. The first state outside Nevada to offer full-scale legal and regulated sports gambling was Delaware.
Delaware launched full-scale sportsbook operations at its three racetrack casinos on June 5, 2018. The state determined it already had all the necessary laws and regulations in place to implement full-scale sports betting.
Delaware’s sports betting product operates under the direction of the state lottery.