Opening Day Of NJ Sports Betting Is One That Will Forever Be Remembered

Every 14th day of June will be remembered by the people of New Jersey as the day when the first ever legally approved sports was placed inside a casino in AC. This will mark the 5th year anniversary since that historical moment took place. Even though the day is considered by many to be one of many first, each of these events is to be considered separately. It is definitely odd to imagine that AC which had for a long time been host to East Coast gambling was not in tandem with the rest of the Garden State. The honor is courtesy of a track dedicated to horse racing that lies sits on the north side of Atlantic City’s gambling capital. 

Interestingly, a bunch of the most influential players in the gambling market had gathered in AC recently to attend a conference hosted at Harrah’s Resort. A few of them were part of the organized trek leading up to Monmouth Park Racetrack facilitated by Gov. Phil Murphy. The governor made the first bet placing it on New Jersey Devils to carry the Stanley Cup and another one for Germany to win the season’s FIFA World Cup. In case anyone is curious as to what the outcome was, both tickets flopped. 

The evolution of New Jersey sports betting

After the Supreme Court ruling of 2018 legalizing gambling in the United States, New Jersey was among the first jurisdictions to jump at making the most out of this opportunity. The fight to legalize sports betting at the state level was a backdrop of an ailing horse racing industry which the administration was keen on saving. It is ironic that at the time when this was happening, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law was facing serious opposing in court. 

The mastermind behind PASPA who was the then New Jersey Senator, also an NBA Hall of Famer, Bill Bradley, proposed that widespread sports betting beyond Nevada should be banned. The declaration of sports betting legality across the United States automatically meant that PASPA would not stand a chance. Did you know that Delaware beat New Jersey by being the 1st state out of Nevada to receive a legal sports bet?

The attention of everyone had for a long time been on NJ and particularly AC; to date, this seaside resort holds a pinch of nostalgic charm to those who held high regard for its potential. Thinking of the buzz that commanded the air on that historic day in June 2018, everyone who had held on to hope can relate to the significance of that court ruling. Professional sports journalists and commentators will especially remember the day even to details because it meant being free to report on bets and wins. 

Gambling before the pandemic

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa would book a spot in the history books as being the first betting establishment to accept a bet only half an hour after the Oceanport op by Governor Murphy. This first bet, which was ceremonial, was placed by Philadelphia sports icon and NBA Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving. Another public figure that took place in this event by placing their own bet was former state Senate President Steve Sweeney. 

As this was taking place at Borgata, stories have it that East Coast Gaming Congress as well asNextGen Forum were running at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center. It had been pre-planned that Murphy would deliver the lunch keynote speech at the gambling conference. The governor has throughout this period been recognized for his contribution to the state of the gambling industry in NJ – special credit must also be accorded to former Gov. Chris Christie and former state Sen. Ray Lesniak for political goodwill. 

For Murphy, being the keynote speaker at such an incredible event meant that his presence must be felt – the plan was to make a technical appearance just to let the cameras know that he was there. Having been in his position for quite a while, this is one individual that many people, entrepreneurs, and corporates will love to listen to for advice and insight. When Murphy made his entrance into Murphy’s that day, so did hundreds of people who were keen on having a memorable anniversary day. 

On the day when the NJ industry marks its fifth year anniversary as a gambling destination, Murphy goes on to place two more bets; the first for a NASCAR driver and NJ native Martin Truex Jr., while the other for a win by the New York Mets. Security was a huge issue as one sports betting journalist recounts – state troopers created a hedge of a human shield around the governor at the slightest indication that someone was getting too close. 

Presently, online sportsbooks have taken over the mantle of betting and especially for the youth and middle-aged that are juggling multiple roles at the same time. New Jersey has managed to maintain is lead in the market and the many jurisdictions cropping up as hubs get their inspiration from here. Well, the start of something is always memorable especially if it marks the beginning of a great movement like it happened for the state of gambling in the United States. 

Final Thoughts

The NJ legislators have a limited time period to decide whether gambling in the state goes on or comes to a screeching halt. On one hand, are those who look back at the development that the industry has facilitated while on the other is a concerned group that feels that the level of gambling addiction is on the rise. Judging from the pomp that characterized the recent year anniversary of the adoption of the law, it is easy to guess what side Governor Murphy will be taking. 

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