Rejected bet votes aren’t slowing business down that much

The Rutgers men’s basketball team pulled off a resounding win for Penn State earlier this season in front of a sold-out Big Ten crowd in Piscataway, New Jersey, on Sunday.

However, New Jersey residents who wanted to gamble on the game were forced to flee to neighboring states because of the strange quirks of the Garden State’s gambling laws.

Last fall, an overwhelming majority of New Jersey voters voted “NO” on a ballot measure that would amend the state’s constitution to allow betting on college New Jersey teams like the Rutgers, or on college sporting events in the state. selected. This limit was first introduced in 2011.

“The legalization of sports betting was somewhat politically controversial at the time,” said Frank DiGiacomo, partner and team leader of the Gaming Industry Practice Group at Philadelphia law firm Duane Morris. increase. “There have been critics raising concerns about allowing bets on college track and field, and the possibility of a scandal in modifying games and other types of gambling to gain more support for the referendum. for [in 2011]New Jersey law expressly did not allow betting on games involving New Jersey teams (which they govern) or on college athletic events within the state.

New Jersey was the first state to roll out sports betting when a 2018 Supreme Court ruling lifted a federal ban on legal sports betting and nullified the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). did. By August of that year, according to DiGiacomo, the state’s casino and sportsbook operators had legal sports betting, but gaming restrictions on New Jersey’s college teams and events was still valid.

» Read more: NCAA’s Truly Biggest College Basketball Game Weekend Betting Trends

However, gaming experts believe that the inability of residents to bet on the Seton Hall or Princeton teams would have a significant negative impact on New Jersey’s sports betting process (the amount bettors are betting). not.

Bill Gelman, Managing Editor of PlayNJ, an online outlet that tracks the gaming industry across the state, said: “But it will fall far short of the number of New York sports bettors who came to New Jersey before New York launched mobile sports betting.” [in January 2022]”

Joe Wiz, one of the nation’s top sports betting analysts, who runs his own ESPN show, goes a step further and believes that even a Big Ten match like the Rutgers-Penn State He said no state resident had a strong desire to leave New Jersey. To satisfy your gambling itch.

“Honestly, I don’t think anyone drives through the Lincoln or Holland tunnels to bet on Rutgers,” Wiz said. “Restrictions on New Jersey teams and college events don’t matter. On any given night, there could be 64 other college basketball games on the board. There are plenty of games to choose from. Like Rutgers. A good team isn’t like Duke or Kentucky, the national powerhouses that many people bet on them, even though they’re playing well.”

New Jersey is one of 30 states, including the District of Columbia, where sports betting is legal. According to PlayNJ, in January, New Jersey sportsbooks (both online and in-store like the Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment venue) won his record $1.34 billion in sports betting. And that amount he increased by 10% from December 2021. The New Jersey Attorney General’s office reported that he had $381.7 million in total gaming revenue for January 2022.

By comparison, Pennsylvania sportsbooks received a record $793.7 million in wagers in January, bringing total revenue to $53.4 million, according to PlayPennsylvania. An expanded NFL season of 17 regular season games may have contributed to the surge in stakes.

Last fall, voters in New Jersey were presented with “Public Question #1” on ballots and asked: “Do you authorize the Constitution to be amended to allow wagering through casinos and current or former racetracks in all college sports or sporting events?”

» Read more: Dive into the March Madness betting scene

Marie Jones, partner at Fox Rothschild and co-chair of the company’s Gaming Practice Group, believes there are two reasons the gaming industry pushed for that ballot item last fall.

“If you have a change like that, it will increase your revenue,” says Jones. “The gaming industry felt that the restrictions were overly restrictive and unnecessary. The ban is in New Jersey, not Pennsylvania, so sports betting can cross the border into Rutgers. , because they are close markets, some operators have had incidents where bets were made in New Jersey. [state] Sports teams and operators were fined. They need to make sure their controls are working and there’s nothing wrong with that. ”

Not enough effort may have been made to let voters know what they thought of the bill, according to PlayNJ editor Gelman.

“Voters needed a better explanation as to why they vote yes or no,” Gelman said.

And DiGiacomo, a partner of Duane Morris, said the conventional wisdom as to why the referendum was rejected was because the poll questions were “not clear and somewhat confusing” for voters.

“[The gaming industry] We supported a referendum to repeal that provision,” DiGiacomo said. “New Jersey voters didn’t quite understand why it was put on the ballot in the first place or what it meant. The operators of the referendum have not done a good enough job of educating the public on what the referendum questions do. does not have similar restrictions on betting on local college teams or in-state college sporting events.

Especially in a state that plans to host the East Regional for the 2025 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Newark’s Prudential Center, don’t expect gaming industry officials and New Jersey legislators to give up on trying to lift that restriction. please give me.

“The reality is that in 2025, a big country could be playing in New Jersey,” Gelman said. “There will be greater appeal than betting on those games.”

Jones added: I don’t think that’s the last you’ll hear about it. ”

A bigger challenge for game companies like DraftKings is long-term sustainability, according to Dean Meade shareholder and gaming industry expert Florida attorney Mark Dunbar. States adopting measures to allow sports betting generate millions in revenue, but with so many options available to sports bettors, gaming companies struggle to retain customers .

“These companies are wasting billions of dollars on customer acquisition and customers have proven to be not very loyal,” said Dunbar, who has more than 25 years of experience in the gaming industry. I’m here. “For example, FanDuel might give someone his $1,000 in match money, and DraftKings might give the same thing the next week. and looking for the best deals.

“You can’t keep bombarding companies with ads trying to get sports bettors. These people aren’t the slot machine players you’re chasing. Sophisticated bettors. They play an arbitrage game against you — if they can assess the inefficiency of a line or spread position between two books, they will do it.”

After New York allowed legal online sports betting, the state put in a staggering $1.625 billion in bets over 23 days in January (8th to 30th), according to PlayNY .

But Gelman said each state “has enough bettors” and that New Jersey should continue to enjoy a strong gaming business despite one limitation.

“I would say $143.7 million was wagered on the Super Bowl,” Gelman said. “Football is still No.1 [in terms of revenue]Next is basketball. I think it’s too early to tell what impact New York mobile betting will have on New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Let your sportsbook take root in New York. By the next NFL season, I think we’ll be able to see the impact. ”

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