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In a close race, New Jersey brought home $318.9 million in total bets to Nevada’s $317.4 million.
In addition to total bets, New Jersey’s sports betting operators made $15.5 million in profit to Nevada operators’ $11.6 million.
“I predicted this a long time ago,” said Raymond Lesniak, a former New Jersey state senator who spearheaded New Jersey’s effort to legalize sports betting.
“The Northeast is a hotbed of sports betting. We are going to leave Nevada in the dust and never look back.”
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told the New York Times that even he is surprised by the immediate success of sports betting in the state.
“It happened a little quicker than we imagined,” said Mr. Christie. “But I had no doubt that we would, just based on demographics and how we structured the thing, that we would do extraordinary.”
In Nevada, sportsbook operators are conceding defeat and knew that this day was coming due to the state being surpassed in population compared to some of the early adopters.
“It was only a matter of time,” Jay Kornegay, head of the famous WestGate SuperBook in Las Vegas told Yahoo Sports.
“States with higher population numbers will continue to surpass Nevada, and New Jersey has a population of 9 million, not counting (people from) surrounding states, versus Nevada’s 2.5 million.”
Kornegay believes that Nevada fell behind New Jersey because of the relatively small NBA playoff schedule due to early series wins by some of the more popular teams.
Although New Jersey eclipsed Nevada for May, the western state booked over $5.2 billion in bets over the last 12 months compared to $3 billion for the east coast state.
The main reason that New Jersey continues to see strong numbers is due in large part to New York’s failure to adopt a sports betting bill and Pennsylvania’s delay in getting mobile betting off the ground.
Those two advantages could be ending soon for New Jersey as Pennsylvania has just introduced mobile wagering in the state and New York has approved limited sports betting.
For DraftKings, the sports betting powerhouse, has their top four mobile betting locations along the Hudson River, next to neighboring New York.
The betting locations stay flush with New Yorkers looking to wager on their favorite teams, something that could go away if the state finally legalized gambling.
Bettors in New York are using public transportation just to cross the New Jersey state line to legally place a wager, then turning around to head back home.
“I know people who drive to the Vince Lombardi rest station just to make their bets, and then turn around and go back to the city,” Gov. Christie said.
The Lombardi station is just across the George Washington Bridge that joins the two states.
Although Nevada will still have an edge over New Jersey in terms of attractions, the Garden State is enjoying their exclusivity all the way to the bank in the early days of sports betting in America.
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