In May, the state topped Nevada in sports betting handle by about $1.5 million. That means more money staying in the state and more money in tax collections for the state.
Supporters who spent years fighting to bring legalized sports gambling to the Garden State can pat themselves on the back. They knew, or will say they knew, sports betting would be a boost to the state’s economy. For now, anyway, the numbers are backing them up.
The challenge will be to keep the momentum going.
New Jersey has enjoyed somewhat of a monopoly when it comes to sports betting in the Northeast. But now Pennsylvania is on board, and New York looks poised to follow in short order. Even though there are approximately a whole bunch of people living in the Northeast, how will that impact New Jersey gaming revenues? Will there be enough sports gamblers to go around?
It’s also reasonable to point out that Atlantic City isn’t exactly Las Vegas, even though the city’s casinos are working hard to catch up. New sportsbooks are opening up at the AC locations with amenities designed to attract gamblers. Will it be enough to make gamblers who usually choose a trip to Vegas change their plans and visit AC?
Even if the No. 1 ranking is short-lived, there’s no denying the impact sports betting has had on the state. Money that otherwise would have gone to overseas betting outfits or illegal local operations now is getting pumped into the economy and state coffers via taxes, and gamblers have a safe and legal way to gamble. Looks like a winning bet for everyone.
Being No. 1 is a nice feather for the cap, but it’s more important to do everything possible to ensure sports betting revenues remain strong in the long term.