Now that the United States Supreme Court has struck down the 26-year-old federal ban on sports betting, also known as PASPA, New Jersey casinos and racetracks are making preparations to accommodate an industry that could bring in millions in annual revenue to the state.
The Supreme Court deliberated for months on the case of Murphy v NCAA, under which New Jersey (through a suit originally filed by former Governor Chris Christie) challenged the constitutionality of PASPA. The court ruled in favor of New Jersey, and sports fans can now expect sportsbooks to pop up quickly throughout the state, making betting widely available.
What happens now in NJ?
Casino moguls such as MGM and Caesars are expected to lead the charge by opening a number of sportsbooks in New Jersey.
Caesars already owns and operates three casinos in Atlantic City: Caesars, Bally’s and Harrah’s, and while the company hasn’t made any plans public, it is expected to utilize two or perhaps all three casinos as bases for their sports betting operations.
Borgata, which is owned and run by one of the biggest casino operators in the world, MGM Resorts, became one of the first sports betting sites in New Jersey to stake its claim to the burgeoning market.
In November 2017, MGM invested $7 million into creating a live sportsbook at its New Jersey property. Anticipating a positive ruling from the courts, Borgata would hope to get a head start on the market with these preparations, and if the courts rule to uphold PASPA, the investment would likely go towards a sports bar or fantasy sports lounge of some sort.
Other horses enter the race
Aside from the casinos, racetracks across the Garden State have been preparing for this potential ruling for years.
The Monmouth Park racetrack constructed a 300-seat sportsbook operation that Dennis Drazin (CEO of Darby Development LLC, the operators of the track) promises would be open for business two weeks after a favorable Supreme Court ruling.
The other main racetracks (Freehold and The Meadowlands) and major casinos would be expected to follow suit if Borgata and Monmouth Park blaze a trail by opening sportsbooks in the weeks following a ruling.
These sportsbooks would in some way resemble the live betting atmosphere at horse racing tracks, with patrons heading over cash at a counter and collecting if the results are in their favor.
Two new properties want in
Ocean Resort Casino and Hard Rock won’t open for business until late June, but both would presumably become players in the sports betting industry should it be legalized in the coming months.
The positive ruling is expected to have a domino effect as other states move to legalize sports betting, creating huge revenue streams and thousands of jobs for residents.
For New Jersey, it could serve as an economic lifeline by resurrecting the struggling casino and horse racing industries. With those tracks and casinos located close to millions of residents, a whole new recreational world could open soon in New Jersey.