Everything changed when the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Garden State in the high-profile case Murphy vs. NCAA. The ruling in that case overturned the PASPA law from 1992 and cleared the way for states to determine whether or not to legalize sports betting independently. Then, on June 11, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed Assembly Bill 4111, legalizing online sports betting, making it possible to place online wagers on sports legally in NJ and place bets at casinos and race tracks around Atlantic City. Since then, New Jersey has been sitting on the top of the hill, breaking record after record.
In 2020, NJ made headlines by surpassing Nevada for the first time by a margin of more than $1.5 billion in wagers placed. In 2021, we became the first state to handle over $1 billion in sports wagers. It’s something that’s been repeated multiple times since. In 2022, the total sports betting handle landed at $10.9 billion.
This summer, New Jersey became the first state of all post-PASPA to process $40 billion in sports wagers. That’s 15% of the total $255.3 billion wagered in the United States since 2018.
While New Jersey had the benefit of being a first mover as the legal online gambling landscape opened up in the US. There are now dozens of states accepting sports wagers online. Most prominently, our neighboring state of New York is pushing us further down the hill.
In this context, New York is measured according to when they started accepting online wagers through mobile devices in January 2022. Since then, the Empire State has been living up to its name. By the half-year mark of 2023, they were on record for processing over $1 billion in bets in 16 out of the 18 months since mobile wagering launched. In January this year, they recorded a record $1.8 billion for a single month and are expected to breach the $2 billion mark next year. For the first six months of 2023, the handle was $9.5 billion, trailing NJ’s total handle for 2022 by just $1.4 billion. At this pace, they’ll soon surpass $40 billion in total sports wagers post-PASPA and eventually overshadow New Jersey with a wide margin.
It was fun while it lasted, headlining industry reports and tabloids. And it wasn’t unexpected to end; NJ has a bit over 9 million residents while New York is closing in on 20 million. It’s only logical that states with higher populations would outgrow smaller states. Outside the publicity it garners, there’s not really a significant economic change as more states surpass us. Sure, some New Yorkers won’t be placing bets from New Jersey anymore, but our market will still grow and provide jobs and tax revenues, just at a slower pace, especially compared to other larger states nationwide.