Gambling on Jersey: Sports Betting Begins in the Garden State

December 10, 2018
Posted in Fall 2018
December 10, 2018 Christopher Dean

On June 11th, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed a law allowing the legalization of sports gambling in New Jersey.

Five and a half months into the experiment, NJ just reported their largest month in terms of wagers placed: $330 million dollars. The various locations and betting apps are taking in an average of $5.49 million in wagers a day. The numbers don’t lie, the garden state loves sports betting.

Gambling on sports is nothing new. Las Vegas has been the hot bed for taking action on any game since 1983. If people wanted to place bets and couldn’t make it to Vegas, the underground bookies would be the go-to.

After New Jerseys supreme court ruled in favor of a state making their own decision on the matter, 6 states joined them and passed their own law. Those sates include New Mexico, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

The Venues

New Jersey has been no stranger to gambling in its history, being the home to many places of interest when it comes to risking one’s own money. Atlantic city is home to many casinos and there are horse tracks located throughout the state as well. Once the sports betting law came to pass, known sports books seized the opportunity and partnered with well known brands.

One of the popular areas is the FanDuel sports book, originally an app meant for daily fantasy leagues turned betting juggernaut. They have partnered with the well known Meadowlands Race Track, a staple in the area and only a stone’s throw from the home of the New York Giants and Jets.

“When the governor signed the bill, we were ready to roll,” said Jason Settlmoir, the COO and general manager of Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment. “We had a lot of hard work and dedication on behalf of our staff and employees along with the New Jersey Division of Gaming to help us open on our target date which was Saturday July the 14th.”

The FanDuel sport book opened one day prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, allowing sports fans the ability to bet on one of the largest events in the sports world. In a symbolic gesture, Governor Murphy placed the first bet at Meadowlands Raceway, putting $20 dollars each on Germany to win the World cup and the New Jersey Devils to win hockey’s Stanley Cup.

Along with FanDuel, many other books have pooped up to make their share of money in the garden state. William Hill, a popular book overseas partnered with Monmouth Race Track in July and DraftKings paired up with the new Hard Rock hotel in Atlantic City. However, many have been popping up, the Meadowlands looks to be the most popular.

“People can make a legal bet here in the state of New Jersey,” said Settlemoir. “Right now over in New York, there has been no legislation done so New Jersey is actually benefiting. The biggest beneficiary right now has to be the Meadowlands.”

The Internet

Sports betting used to be cut and dry. Go to Vegas or your local bookie, put your money down and then wait for the outcome. Now, thanks to a smartphone in everyone’s pocket, betting is only a few taps away.

Betting apps is the future of sports gambling and has already shown dividends in wagers placed. According to the Legal Sports Report, more than 72% of the bets wagered in the past five months have come via mobile or online platforms.

John Brennan of has been following the sports betting scene for over a decade and has quickly seen the landscape change to digital.

“Anyone within the borders of New Jersey can bet anywhere,” Brennan said. “Clearly the future of sports betting is online. In game betting is (also) going to explode once people start get more comfortable with it.”


Corey Sullivan, a senior at Montclair State University as well as an avid better uses the FanDuel app almost daily.

“Mainly what I do is use the app on my phone,” said Sullivan. “I try to make two or three bets straight on the team then the rest ill group together. One of my bets I bet $50 and I won over $700.”

Casino/Racetrack vs. Online

The following represent difference between gross wagering revenue at the various casinos or racetracks and the online sports betting scene. The numbers represented are only the amounts that were wagered prior to the outcomes of the bets.

The line graph seen here is the total sports bets made in New Jersey per month. The total of bets taken in the first five and a half months accrues to over $928 million.

The future seems to be glowing as New Jersey is nearing $1 billion in wagers midway through December. Even though the state will get some money, not all is heading into the taxpayers’ pockets.

“About 95% of the money wagered goes back to the gamblers who win half the bets,” said John Brennan. “So, the amount of monthly revenue is not that large and only around 10 or 12 percent of it goes to taxes. So, the taxpayer is not getting rich off of sports betting exactly.”

Brennan also, however, explained the benefits gambling will bestow on New Jersey.

“Atlantic City casinos have struggled in the past decade,” he said. “May through August, they fill every hotel room. By mid-September though the winter, they’re fairly empty. Now, things have changed because college football and the NFL goes from September through January and people are going to go down every weekend and stay a few nights at a hotel, go to a nice restaurant, etc. So, Atlantic City will benefit from the indirect revenue of people coming to bet on the games.”

“There are three reasons why (gambling) is positive,” said Jason Settlmoir on the legalization. “Now you’re able to regulate it, you’re able to tax it, and you’re able to put people back to work and those are all three great things.”

Christopher Dean

Senior Television and Digital Media major

I am a Senior at Montclair State University and expected to graduate later this month with a BA in television and digital media with a concentration in sports media. I have been a student at MSU since 2016, prior to that I attended Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. During my time at Montclair State, I had the opportunity to direct various shows including the weekly news cast as well as the  live election night coverage this past November. I have been a resident of New Jersey my entire life and currently reside in Raritan.