Nevada is not the only state in the United States to allow sports betting following a major announcement made Monday by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stating it would no longer be illegal there. Christie’s directive allows casinos and racetracks to take wagers on sporting events except those involving teams in New Jersey, including the New York Giants and Jets.
Sports betting was originally approved by New Jersey voters in 2011 but later blocked by an appeal made by several professional sports organizations and the Collegiate Athletic Association. While the law could still be appealed again, New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman reaffirmed Christie’s claim that sports betting was in fact now legal, and one track is even hoping to take wagers as early as Sunday with a full slate of NFL football games on tap.
Monmouth Park was more realistic in saying it would be ready to accept sports bets within the next 30 days, as the ability of casinos and racetracks to move forward depends on their readiness. Monmouth Park specifically has already been working with sports-betting firm Sportsbook to prepare a room, or sportsbook, that can handle the high demand expected during football season.
Other racetracks are patiently waiting to see if there is any additional pushback from sports leagues before proceeding. Many sports betting advocates think it’s still “too good to be true” and are bracing themselves for more disappointment. However, Christie and other lawmakers in favor of legalized sports betting believe it could help generate more revenue for the state.
Casinos in New Jersey have been struggling over the past few years, with three closing this year alone, including two in the past few weeks and Trump Plaza on deck. The addition of sports betting at these casinos could bring more business, at least that’s the hope of Christie and others.
In Nevada, almost $3.5 billion was reportedly wagered on sports in 2012, although estimates of illegal sports betting nationwide are in the hundreds of billions each year. If New Jersey can capitalize on that market, more casinos may be able to stay open and enjoy a profitable future.