The first week of November was quite interesting for the people of New Jersey especially around the political arena. While the voting process was typically ordinary, the content of the ballot papers was not. The gambling sector was in the spotlight as people got down to making decisions at the individual level. The two questions featured on the ballot paper were;
- “Allow sports gambling on collegiate postseason events that take place inside NJ borders as well as betting on college games involving teams from NJ.”
- “Allow nonprofits to use money they have raised from charities to fund organizational initiatives.“
Going by the media reports that indicate what a profitable market New Jersey is for gambling operators, it is interesting how public question number one flopped. With a 56.84% to 43.16% defeat ratio, the people of New Jersey have banned the integration of gambling with college sports at all levels.
A lot of people might not have thought much about public question two but those who did were in total support of it. People have no problem with NGOs growing by using funds obtained from charity; an indication that growth is welcome regardless of who is funding it. We will not be focusing on question two because our interest is in gambling and related news.
The truth is that putting question one on the ballot was totally unnecessary; all major sportsbooks use and accept bets on college events. It is the perception of the NJ population on betting that is quite perplexing. Given that this is the epicenter of gambling in the United States, how can the population be against it?
Just to recap on the industry’s performance in the month of September, it is important to take into consideration that the state of New Jersey managed combined revenue of $1.01 billion. No other state, even NJ had prior to this recorded such an impressive performance. This performance is even more impressive considering that legalized betting had only been practiced outside of Las Vegas from 2018.
Prior to that time, Las Vegas enjoyed gambling monopoly in the US and surrounding regions from 1993 to 2018. During that time, operators like the Westgate SuperBook dominated the market but this did not bring Nevada anywhere close to what NJ achieved in September.
If the majority of the New Jersey residents can vote against a bill that is aimed at expanding the vibrant betting scene, it means that a large number of those who bet through New Jersey based platforms are actually from outside the state. The situation might actually change in the coming election as more of the visitors become residents and civic education is done to explain what passing the law actually means. This is a typical case of a thriving source of income that many residents do not support.
Food for thought
Taking a closer look at the New Jersey market, it is easy to see its uniqueness based on the availability of multiple markets for sports gambling operators to reap from. New Jersey bettors are exposed to legal online casino gambling (iGaming), legal online horse racing betting, legal online poker, and legal online sports betting.
A big portion of the betting economy of NJ is steered over the internet. Could this mean that the proposal to have college sports integrated into mainstream betting was shot down by people with little or no internet use? This is an indication that the electorate was divided along the basis of internet uptake in the state.
Basically, the people of New Jersey have been served with local betting apps which they can use to place bets on games or events taking place in different parts of the world. According to conventional wisdom, this power vested in the market player opens up all manner of avenues for taking the most out of the consumer. In a state like Nevada that thrives on gambling tourism, there is no appetite for particular online casino games.
The freedom to come into the betting arena, spend as much money as you had planned and not feel the urge to invest more is what responsible gambling is all about. This is propagated in strategy games such as poker which have had a slow uptake in the greater US gambling market. In theory, games like poker that require a player to rethink their intended moves might have an effect on revenue if everyone adopted them.
If a tourist visits a certain destination for its lively casino scenery, no amount of iGaming engagement would make up for them not being able to visit a brick and mortar establishment. There can simply be no replacement for the experience that one gets from walking into a physical casino establishment. The success of the New Jersey gambling market is therefore as a result of a healthy balance between walk-in casinos and online operations.
Are you wondering how NJ managed to rake in up to a billion dollars during a time when the pandemic confined most people to specific locations? It is possible to place a bet at a NJ based sportsbook through a legal gambling offshore provider. For those who are unaware of the modalities involved in effecting such transactions, anything out of state is considered illegal.
Whichever way you choose to interpret gambling laws, it is important to consider that every state has their package of tourist attractions. There is always something that a state can use to encourage visitors to visit with the intention of getting them to spend money.
If you reside in a state that is surrounded by others, you might find comfort in planning trips across the various borders in a bid to enjoy the offerings of different areas. With limited resources and a desire to visit as many as you can, the deciding factor could be that legal betting is allowed in some destinations and not others.