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In excess of $4 billion in bets were made in New Jersey last year and more than 80% of those were made online. Online sports betting is not legal in New York and many people from the state, especially New York City, make the short trek to the Garden State to make wagers. Some train stations in New Jersey are now gambling hubs for New Yorkers to make legal bets.
Julio Carrasco is the GM of a sports bar called Texas Arizona that is located near the train station in Hoboken, New Jersey. The bar has welcomed the gambling clientele, which mostly consists of people coming from New York to make bets. Also, representatives for online sportsbooks such as DraftKings and PointsBet have betting promotions at the sports bar.
Carrasco stated, “You notice the guys, everyone else is a regular, meeting friends, then you have one guy, specifically here to gamble.”
According to the Gibraltar-based gaming operator 888 Holdings Plc, which has an office in New Jersey, the biggest betting markets in the Garden State are Jersey City, Hoboken and Newark. All three of those locations are transport hubs that offer easy access from Manhattan.
Yaniv Sherman, the head of commercial development in the US for 888, stated a lot of the betting in those areas is done in and around the train stations. Many commuters make bets as they are waiting for their train connections, while there is also a lot of wagering done in the terminals, bars and restaurants at the Newark Liberty International Airport.
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Sherman said, “On Saturday and Sunday, you see those locations light up. People are coming in to place bets and traveling back to the city.”
In New Jersey you have to be within state lines in order to make bets online. NJ sportsbooks and betting apps have geolocation software to make sure that the people wagering are within state lines. There are many advertisements for betting operators, such as William Hill NJ, Unibet, and MGM Resorts International, at train stations, bus stations, and transit stations in New Jersey. DraftKings has an office in Hoboken and PointsBet has an office in Jersey City.
FanDuel is one of the leading New Jersey online sportsbooks. According to the firm, around 22% of the mobile bets it takes in come from people from New York. On the weekend FanDuel has a shuttle from the New York’s Port Authority bus station to the company’s land-based sportsbook at the Meadowlands racetrack in New Jersey. That is the closest book to the Big Apple and, according to researcher Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC, the biggest US betting shop outside of Nevada.
This situation will change when the gambling laws in New York become more liberal. New York casinos have opened land-based sportsbooks on their properties, although the upstate locations are struggling to attract customers from major metropolitan areas. With the money that comes in from online wagering and the taxes to be made by the state, it will not be long before online wagering is legalized in New York.
James Kilsby, a gambling compliance analyst, said, “If you had to place a bet on New York mobile, right now the favorite would be approval in 2021 and launch at some point in 2022.”
According to 888’s Sherman, cities in New Jersey that lie nearby neighboring Pennsylvania have already experienced a decrease in wagers online since PA legalized mobile betting in May of 2019.