Sports betting has only been legal in New Jersey since June 2018 but it’s taken off like gangbusters.

Last month, more money was bet on sporting events in New Jersey than any other state, including Nevada.

Garden State regulators report $251 million in bets during July, while sports betting in Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada had $235 million in wagers.

According to Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business magazine sports betting totals were also higher in Jersey than Nevada in May.

So how did Jersey become the sports betting capital so quickly?

“You have to be within the state to bet on a mobile device and you certainly have to do that in Nevada as well — and there’s a lot fewer people in Nevada than there are in New Jersey," Gros said.

He said 80% of sports betting revenue is generated from mobile devices.

Another factor is Jersey is attracting sports betters from New York.

“I really expect New Jersey to be the leading betting state in the country until a state like New York or one of the larger states comes along," he said.

Sports betting at casinos in New York is legal, but mobile betting is not allowed, so many New Yorkers cross the Hudson when they want to place a bet on a game.

Gros said even though more than $3 billion in bets have been made in the Garden State since June 2018, sports betting profits are not as high as you might imagine.

“The handle on the sports betting operations are very small, usually between 2 and 5%," he said.

Another reason profit margins are low is because most casinos have partnered with online sports betting companies, “so the actual slice of the revenue they’re getting is pretty minuscule, frankly," Gros said.

Nevertheless, Gros says sports betting is very important because it helps attract people to casinos.

“The casinos have set up these elaborate sports betting lounges where you can watch the game with your friends," he said.

Gros said when people go to these sports lounges, they’re not only betting on the game.

“They spend money on food and beverage and they may gamble on another game. Most of them do, as a matter of fact," he said.

“It’s going to be an important element of the casino industry going forward and also it’s helping revive the horse racing industry in the state, with sports books at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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