Sun Editorial: Gambling numbers look promising

That’s good news for casinos, Atlantic City, the state, everybody.

By Alan Bauer

Recent figures released by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement brought some good news to a state and its residents who could use it.

The state reported June 2018 gaming revenues of more than $233 million, up from $217 million in June of last year.

Also, it reported that gamblers bet more than $16 million on sports, which is awesome, considering only a couple locations were open in the middle of the month.

Also, two casinos recently opened their doors — the Ocean Resort Casino and the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino. While new business openings often are cause for celebration, let’s not forget that a bunch of Atlantic City casinos closed in recent years. Will the two new ones result in an overall boost to the market, or will they take customers from other casinos, and, therefore, lead to closures in the future? Time will tell.

But, for now, let’s focus on the good news, and sports betting is it. Gamblers seem to be loving it.

Most of the money wagered last month was on baseball games — although the World Cup no doubt added a few dollars, too. But baseball isn’t the heavyweight of the sports betting world — or at least the U.S. sports betting world. If you think the June numbers were good, just wait until the NFL and college football seasons start. And, of course, there’s March Madness in college basketball. Billions of dollars are wagered worldwide — illegally and legally — every year on these events, and now New Jersey is in the position to cash in. And we haven’t scratched the surface of online sports betting.

People have been gambling on sports forever. Much of the time, it was through illegal channels that left the state dealing with all of the problems gambling can cause, but none of the money to address those problems.

That New Jersey is now in the game is reason to celebrate.