Here’s What New Jersey Can’t Mess Up After Legalizing Sports Betting

Here’s What New Jersey Can’t Mess Up After Legalizing Sports Betting article feature image

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Highlights

  • One way New Jersey could quickly alienate everyday bettors? Jack up the vig way beyond what folks have grown accustomed to in Vegas and offshore books.
  • Bettors naturally want to shop for the best lines, which means New Jersey shouldn’t put a stranglehold on the number on licenses it gives out. The more the merrier.  

It isn’t easy being the guinea pig, but somebody other than Nevada had to lead the charge into this brave new world of legalized sports betting. Enter New Jersey. Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal prohibition on sports betting on Monday, the pressure is solely on the shoulders of the Garden State to not only do it first, but do it right.


According to Ryan Rodenberg, “licensed casinos, licensed racetracks and former racetracks would seemingly be permitted to offer some forms of in-state sports betting as soon as they are able.”

With that in mind, what are the key elements of sports betting that Jersey simply can’t screw up when it officially starts taking bets? Is it live betting? Mobile apps? Bet options? Here are top things New Jersey can’t mess up when it initially launches sports wagering inside its state lines.

Sports Types and Options

Availability is going to be key for New Jersey. The novice, public bettor will come for the major sports, but to truly match the offshore and Vegas experience, Jersey needs to offer a variety of sports. Priority No. 1 will be getting NFL and college football wagering up and ready as fans will be jonesing to place their first legal wagers and football will be their “ticket” to this universe. With the popularity of football, bettors will want to jump on the futures market and prop bets, in addition to your regular spread and total wagers as soon as they become available. With the Jets, Giants, Eagles, Redskins, Ravens and Penn State all within shouting distance, there are plenty of avid fan bases to attract to New Jersey sportsbooks. — PJ Walsh and Evan Abrams

Mobile Betting

If states don’t release mobile betting products from the jump, it’ll be a total miss. I spend approximately 17 hours per day on my phone, and I’m not alone. Any potential consumer — from the hardcore bettor to the weekend warrior — will be looking for the easiest way to bet, and that’s always going to be via the phone. Nevada has figured this out (though it took the state a little time), and other states need to make it a priority from the jump, or else they’re going to have a hard time converting those who’ve grown accustomed to the convenience of betting from their couch via offshore sites and local bookies. — Scott T. Miller

The “Vig”

Considering how vociferous #GamblingTwitter is, it would be unforgivable if the powers that be don’t do their due diligence here. For this to work and to help pull cities such as Atlantic City out of their funk, you need to make it worthwhile for people to come. And to me, that means keeping the vig low enough that a trip to the track or casino is worth his or her time. This can quickly go awry if politicians decide to charge outrageous taxes on legal wagers, which in turn would force the books to raise the juice. — Michael Leboff


This framework is already in place thanks to daily fantasy sports. Copy exactly what DraftKings and FanDuel do regarding tax forms and move on. No need to make this more complicated than it needs to be. — PJ Walsh

Lines and Licenses

Pro bettors are looking for options. They want different lines at different shops so they can find opportunities. New Jersey has to be smart enough to allow — and regulate — multiple operators. The more the merrier, really. This is one aspect that Vegas sports betting has started to lose recently, with a majority of the operators getting cut out of the bigger properties. The days of running between MGM and Tropicana (Cantor Gaming) to shop is a thing of the past, but allowing different books the opportunity to set their own lines is a must. — Evan Abrams

Live Betting

Live betting has a strong connection to mobile and is one of the very important and progressive aspects to a sports book that New Jersey really can’t screw up. William Hill is expected to be the wagering partner for Monmouth Park in New Jersey, which will offer their selection of in-game betting for popular events, but what is still up in the air is how that will be sanctioned within the state of New Jersey. Will bettors have to be within state lines? What happens when different licenses sign on to different casinos and racetracks? One thing is definite. If what states are looking for is action, money wagered and total bets, operators must have in-game wagering available on a variety of options. — Evan Abrams


This is another case where the framework already exists in Nevada, so with time being an issue, the most likely play is for New Jersey and sportsbook operators to simply copy/continue what’s going on out West. So, in this example, William Hill wouldn’t alter its limits and bookmaking practices from what it already uses in Vegas. New Jersey’s need is to get up and running, especially by football season, so the Garden State can’t drag its feet here to start, as limits and the handling of advantage players will surely evolve. — PJ Walsh

Deposits and Withdrawals

One of the biggest advantages to legalized sports betting is being able to deposit/withdraw funds without needing Western Union, agents or bitcoin. Furthermore, keeping balances at sportsbooks regulated by state governments instills much more confidence than those operating outside of U.S. jurisdictions. Daily fantasy sports operators already have this figured out, so again, no need to reinvent the wheel here. — PJ Walsh

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