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Betting on sports fuels N.J. gambling

by CHRISTOPHER PALMERI BLOOMBERG NEWS | December 15, 2019 at 2:09 a.m.

The introduction of sports betting in New Jersey last year has lit a fire under the state's gambling businesses.

Sports betting, which was introduced in June of 2018, generated $96 million in revenue in the first 10 months of 2019, according to regulators. Excluding sports, online betting on games like blackjack and slot machines is also on a tear, with revenue projected to jump 51% to $452 million this year, according to a recent industry-backed study.

Online gambling has been offered in New Jersey for six years, but betting hasn't taken off in the state or nationally as many early proponents hoped. Today only New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania have online casinos in operation. Nevada limits online bets to sports and poker. West Virginia is expected to introduce online casino games next year.

Sports betting has taken off quickly after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a federal ban last year. Thirteen states now have sports-betting operations. Six more have approved it, but aren't yet in business. In New Jersey, gamblers can bet online or at sportsbooks.

So far, online betting in New Jersey hasn't hurt the state's nine land-based casinos, which should see revenue climb a decade-best 9% to $2.74 billion this year, according to the study. It was commissioned by the iDevelopment and Economic Association a trade group for online gambling companies.

Jeff Ifrah, an online-gambling attorney and founder of the group, said customers betting on college basketball tournaments or playing daily fantasy football are typically younger and male, compared with slot machine players, who tend to be older and female. Many are now betting at sportsbooks in the casinos.

"This is an opportunity to acquire a new type of customer," he said.

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Print Headline: Betting on sports fuels N.J. gambling


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