Sports betting in New Jersey is off and running. Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 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 moving 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 online?
Online sports betting sites are just getting started, but there are now nine available in the state:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- SugarHouse Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- William Hill
- BetStars NJ
- 888 Sports NJ
The first major innovation is the betting carousel. 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 10 cents.
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 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 available on Android and iOS but does not have a web-based browser option.
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, 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. 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. As of Sep. 26, the app is now available via browser, iOS and Android, so there should be no compatibility issues any longer.
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 sportsbook 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 both an Android app and an iOS app for Apple users.
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.
PointsBet is set to become the ninth member of the New Jersey online sports betting market. The Australian company soft-launched its sportsbook on Dec. 11 after gaining conditional approval from the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement.
PointsBet offers a different spin on traditional sports betting to its patrons. Its signature game is called spread betting.
Spread betting allows the payout or loss on a bet to fluctuate according to how “correct” the bet was. In other words, the distance that the actual game ends from the given odds or line determines a player’s outcome.
So, if a bettor takes the over on a totals bet, then he or she will receive a greater payout if the game goes 10 points over the total than if it goes 5 points over.
Conversely, a losing bet is more expensive to the player if the bet loses by ten points rather than by five. So, spread betting is a higher risk/reward game, but a different approach that most New Jersey bettors have never seen before.
Where can I bet on sports in New Jersey?
At present, there are nine locations where you can bet on sports in New Jersey. Here are the known partnerships and sportsbooks open:
|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||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||Probably||Unknown|
|Golden Nugget||SBTech||Yes||Open, Aug. 15||Probably||Unknown|
|Resorts||DraftKings/Kambi; SBTech||Yes||Open, Aug. 15||Probably||Unknown|
|Caesars||Scientific Games||No||Unknown||Caesars Casino & Sportsbook||Sept. 6|
|Tropicana||William Hill||Yes||Open, Oct. 25||Probably||Unknown|
|Hard Rock Atlantic City||GiG||Planned||Unknown||Planned||Unknown|
|Freehold Raceway||Unknown||Yes||Early 2019||Yes||Early 2019|
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 million 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 now realizes its true function on a daily basis.
The sportsbook is open seven days a week. Its hours of operation are typically 10 a.m. 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. EST 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 significant 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 more than $1 million in wagers.
Despite some growing pains, the nascent sportsbook should be a rousing success.
Bally’s/Wild Wild West
Bally’s opened 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 sportsbook’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 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 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, five video walls, and self-service kiosks for wagering.
The sportsbook at Golden Nugget is open daily from 10 a.m. to midnight EST.
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. On Nov. 14, DraftKings announced that its name would be on the new permanent sportsbook at Resorts when it opens in late November: DraftKings Sportsbook at Resorts.
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.
Tropicana Atlantic City
While Tropicana was late to the party, it did eventually open a brick-and-mortar sportsbook.
On Oct. 26, Tropicana and its sports betting partner William Hill launched the William Hill Sports Book at Tropicana Atlantic City. The facility is located in the North Tower Casino, but it’s only temporary.
The casino will hopefully open a permanent 5,000-square-foot sportsbook at a later date.
After months of relative silence, Freehold Raceway is now moving towards offering sports betting. Its two corporate parents, Penn National and Greenwood Gaming, are now seeking skins for their online sportsbook operations.
Fantini Research, the gaming consultancy responsible for reporting this development, also said that negotiations are underway regarding both retail and online sports betting at the racetrack. The research firm expects these discussions to complete before the end of 2018. Sports betting is likely to proceed shortly thereafter.
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)
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.
Side note: NBA betting is not allowed at Golden Nugget due to its relationship with the NBA’s Houston Rockets. As per the regulations, the Golden Nugget sportsbook cannot take bets on any NBA game.
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 U.S. 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 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.