Sun Editorial: We’re almost No. 1, and this time it’s for something that’s not terrible

Casino.org says the state has taken in $2.3 billion in sports wagers in the 10 months betting has been legal here - meaning the state only trails Nevada.

Usually when you see a survey and New Jersey is ranked at or near the top, it’s for something not all that great: property taxes, people leaving the state, longest commute, etc. 

Recently, however, a casino.org article said the state might be nearing No. 1 status in something that actually should be celebrated: the amount of money bet on sports.

The article pointed out the state has taken in $2.3 billion in sports wagers in the 10 months sports betting has been legal here. Nevada, the current No. 1, took in $5 billion in wagers in 2018.

But, given the newness of sports betting in the Garden State, revenues continue to grow.

Whether you are for or against sports betting, one thing is clear: it means the state is collecting big bucks on taxes. And those tax revenues will grow as sports betting grows.

As the article pointed out, New Jersey collects 8 percent of sports bets that take place in a regular sports book. It collects 13 percent on mobile bets. And, even better, the vast majority of sports bets are coming in via app.

Gambling, of course, often isn’t a harmless pastime. For all of those who control their gambling habits and might place only a sawbuck on an occasional Eagles game, there are others who struggle with addiction. Some of that money being collected by the state must be used to help those who have a problem.

But it’s also true that, for decades and beyond, people have been gambling. Until recently, those sports bets were handled by shady characters or offshore companies – neither of which handed over one cent to the state, and all of which no doubt contributed to the negative impacts gambling can cause.

Gov. Murphy is quoted in the same casino.org article as saying New Jersey could overtake Nevada for the top spot as early as next year.

That’s good news. Sports betting is now both legal and safer for those who place a wager. And the state finally is collecting its share on the activity.