US sports betting ramps up for football season

The Week In Sports Betting: Critical Mass Building In New Jersey Market

Atlantic City sports betting

Friday marks the four-month anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision to overturn the federal ban on sports betting. Time flies when you’re having fun.

In the time since, four states have joined Nevada in the pool, with New Jersey setting the pace for emerging markets. The Garden State is the focal point of the industry at the moment, so we’ll start our recap there once again this week.

New Jersey sports betting rising to the occasion

Regulators released the NJ sports betting data for August, and the data is good.

Bettors wagered close to $100 million during the month, with books holding more than $9 million in revenue. That’s way more than June and July combined, a sign of things to come as football season kicks off. The state has collected taxes in excess of $1.5 million since launch.

That August report also includes the first numbers from online/mobile sports betting, further padding the NJ online gambling industry.

DraftKings Sportsbook was first to market, and it’s hard to imagine a hotter start. It scored a $3 million win for the month, accounting for nearly a third of the total revenue for the state. It has already booked a million bets, literally.

Competition in the virtual realm was limited last month, but change is coming quickly. There are already eight online/mobile platforms available today, including two new entrants this week.

888 Sportsbook entered the market last weekend, actually, incorporated into the company’s existing online poker/casino platform. It’s powered by Kambi.

BetStars went live on Thursday evening, also completing its full set of US online gambling products. It’s available as a standalone Android platform and integrated into PokerStarsNJ on iOS.

News from other states

New Jersey dominated the sports betting headlines, but a few bits of relevant news popped up elsewhere, too.

  • West Virginia: There are now two casinos offering WV sports betting, but you can really only visit oneFanDuel Sportsbook opened this week at The Greenbrier, the private resort casino owned by Gov. Jim Justice. Memberships start at the low, low price of just $1,749.
  • Pennsylvania: Slowly but surely, PA is approaching the rollout of its own regulated industry. This week, Hollywood Casino revealed that it’s begun hiring staff to operate its on-property sportsbook. Hollywood was the first casino to apply for a PA sports betting permit last month.
  • Arkansas: Wait, who? The Natural State makes its inaugural appearance on this list with a sudden opportunity to legalize sports betting. An advocacy group has collected enough signatures for its proposal to lock up a spot on the upcoming ballot. Voters will decide the fate of Arkansas sports betting on Nov. 6.

Takes and tidbits

Considering the dense chatter out of New Jersey and the kickoff of football season, it was actually a relatively light week for the sports betting industry itself. Here are some leftover crumbs that are worth a special mention, though:

  • Get ’em: During a committee hearing, head NJ regulator David Rebuck speaks about how robust the illegal sports betting market is, and how aggressively he intends to address it. Rebuck says he’s already working with NJ stakeholders and the US Department of Justice to come up with solutions.
  • B-E-T-S: The New York Jets are apparently interested in following the lead of the Dallas Cowboys. Reports indicate that the Jets are shopping around for a casino partner in the wake of relaxed NFL sponsorship rules.
  • We’re good: The American Gaming Association drafts a letter to US Sen. Chuck Schumer, essentially informing him that his proposed federal sports betting legislation is unwarranted. The AGA instead updates its model framework for state lawmakers.
  • Fan Cave: Our friend Marc Meltzer drops by the new sportsbook at The Linq in Las Vegas, and it looks pretty snazzy. If this more casual take on a sportsbook is the beginning of a trend, we’re all aboard.
  • Fact-pinion: If there’s one piece you should read this week, it’s this one. It’s an unenviable task, but analyst Steve Ruddock does his best to counter the vocal minority hung up on the vig taken by NJ sportsbooks. As Ruddock explains, there’s a lot more that goes into the decisions of many bettors than pricing alone.

That’s all, folks. Stay safe and dry if you’re in the way of Florence, and remember to bet responsibly if you’re speculating on the games this Sunday.

Enjoy your weekend.

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering regulated US gambling, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.