Jersey, Baby: How the PASPA Ruling Changed the Business of Being a Pro Bettor

Jersey, Baby: How the PASPA Ruling Changed the Business of Being a Pro Bettor article feature image

DOMINICK REUTER/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

The following story was told to me by a professional sports bettor about the day PASPA was overturned.

I remember the game. I remember the score. I remember the day.

Angels-Astros. Angels won 2-1. It was May 14, 2018.

I was living in Vegas for the betting syndicate that I still work for today, when my colleague called talk about that baseball bet that just cashed.

“But that’s not the big news,” he said. “Did you hear?”

I hadn’t.

“The Supreme Court went back on PASPA,” he said. “Betting is going to be legal around the country.”

Less than 24 hours later, I was in the office of my boss, who paid the rent for my three-year stay in Vegas as long as I mowed the lawn, which by the way didn’t exist.

“I’m moving back to New Jersey,” I said. “It’s going to be so much better for us than Las Vegas.”

He didn’t hesitate and told me to go. And boy has it delivered!

I had lived in New Jersey from 2000-09. I was comfortable there, but I also knew as a bettor I wouldn’t have to deal with what Vegas had become.

The same six or seven guys control Vegas sportsbooks and they all talk to each other. So we certainly couldn’t show up placing our own bets. Many of them wouldn’t take our money. We did too well.

I could always find a friend to come out to Las Vegas and live with me in exchange for being paid to make my bets, but that wasn’t anything permanent. The runner situation was getting really bad, too. We’d have to find guys who lost a lot of money at sportsbooks to place our bets as if they were theirs. That worked to some extent, but then there was a process of getting your ticket and your money when you won.

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Vegas is like those Real Housewives shows. Pros tell on other pros. They’re all competing. In New Jersey, there’s none of that.

You have 20 sportsbooks competing with each other, not talking to each other. I don't have to give other people my money. I can make 13 bets under $10,000 and still get more than $100,000 down.

It's been two years since I moved back to New Jersey and William Hill is the only sportsbook that won’t let me bet with them. Aside from that, I’ve had no problem and the lines have been competitive.

I’m not sure New Jersey will ever beat Vegas in total handle (in 2019, Jersey fell about $700 million short), but for a pro bettor, the experience is a million times better.

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