Sun Editorial: New Jersey sports betting a good bet so far

As sports betting grows, so does the state’s coffers.

By Alan Bauer
The Sun

Sports betting is proving to be a wise move for New Jersey. So far, it has added millions of dollars to state coffers, and it’s only just begun.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement recently released September numbers for sports gambling, and the figures are solid. About $184 million was wagered on sports in September — almost double August’s figure (people love to bet on football). Internet sports wagering also skyrocketed to about $105 million.

Overall, total gaming revenue this September was about 20 percent higher than September of 2017.

And, so far, the state has added more than $4 million to its bottom line from the 8 percent in-person tax on sports bets and the 13 percent tax on sports bets placed on the internet.

A small sample size? Yep. Too soon to make any grand declarations of sports betting being an unequivocal success and wonderful thing for one and all? Absolutely. Encouraging numbers that can lead one to believe the state made a good decision to get into the sports betting business? That’s true, too.

Another definite: New Jersey residents really like to bet on sports. And one more positive: A lot of the money now being wagered legally in New Jersey, and being taxed, would have gone to illegal or off-shore betting sites if the state hadn’t legalized sports betting. That $4 million-plus certainly would not have been in the state’s hands.

And one prediction: These numbers are going to continue to grow in the coming years.

The dangers of expanding gambling, both to society and economically, are both legitimate and well known. It would be wrong to ignore them. The state must monitor any changes to everything from poverty to crime rates and determine if expanded gambling is causing harm.

But legalized sports gambling, so far, has been a positive for the state. Gamblers are flocking to the sites, and the state is putting more money in its pockets.