- New Yorkers are hitting the sidewalks to cross the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey.
- According to the New York Times, they ride bikes, scooters, and jog to cross state lines and, in effect, bet on sports.
- New York City has technically legalized online sports betting, but it has yet to roll out.
If you’re a New Yorker looking to earn a dime at a sports game, don’t lose money on tolls.
David Waldstein of The New York Times reports that a group of bettors are using their feet and wheels to place bets across the George Washington Bridge. That’s because the George Washington Bridge connects Upper Manhattan with New Jersey. In Manhattan bettors still can’t legally gamble on mobile phone games. Queue bikers, scooters and runners.
One bettor, Colman Cooper, arrived in New Jersey by bicycle. He told The New York Times that if he wins the 1 p.m. game, he might cycle back from Manhattan to New Jersey and try his hand again at the 4 p.m. game.
The entrance to the George Washington Bridge is located in Washington Heights, New York. The bridge is easily accessible for New Yorkers who live not only in the Bronx, but also in upper Manhattan, including neighboring Inwood and Harlem. Cross the bridge and you’re just 1.5 miles from New Jersey.
This is a by-product of the ongoing rollout of sports betting, especially mobile sports betting, and the way some bettors have gotten creative during the pandemic. In 2018, the Supreme Court lifted a federal ban on sports betting, he reports Insider Alexandra Licata. That year, New Jersey launched sports betting.
New Yorkers can now bet directly on sports at a handful of upstate casinos, according to MarketWatch. In April 2021, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would soon have its own online sports betting, but said the state would have to decide which operator would run that organization.
According to The Times, it’s still not legal to conduct mobile gambling in the state because New York hasn’t done it yet.
New Yorkers heading to Jersey are nothing new. Sports Illustrated’s Ben Pickman reported how virtual sports bettors flocked to Linwood Pizza across the bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in August. Owner Jim Misilis told Sports Illustrated that production of his signature pizza is up 50% during his football season.
“It’s like the party is here,” Misilis told Sports Illustrated.
The pandemic has also ignited a boom in online sports betting. The American Gaming Association says a record 7.6 million Super Bowl bettors will bet virtually in 2021, a 63% increase year over year. Meanwhile, the number of bettors planning to bet directly has decreased.
The bridge also saw a pandemic boom, as highlighted by The New York Times. Because in-person casinos in New Jersey have closed. Bicycles and e-scooters have also become more popular during the pandemic, as telecommuters desperately needed to get around and breathe air safely.
But while New Yorkers are stepping up and gambling, the practice may not be so healthy for New York wallets.
New York State Senator Joseph P. Adabo Jr. has chaired the Horse Racing, Gaming and Gambling Commission and has advocated legalizing virtual betting to help fund state programs. Addabbo told The Times that New York law includes funding for gambling addiction programs. The state’s Bureau of Addiction Services and Support calls gambling addiction a “hidden addiction” and advises that planning before gambling can help adults gamble responsibly. .
“It’s our money that’s crossing that bridge,” Adabo told The Times. “Money that’s supposed to go to New York’s education system goes to New Jersey.