Online sports betting came to the US in New Jersey, the first state to legalise it in 2018. With a glamorous history of Atlantic City casinos, the Garden State paved the way for twenty-first century wagering. In recent years New Yorkers flocked across state lines en masse to place their bets, but with legislation moving to the New York lawmakers this regional monopoly could come to a close.
In recent years, transit authority officials had taken notice of a strange pattern. A large number of rail passengers arrive in Hoboken from New York’s Port Authority only to spend a few moments on the platform before boarding a return train. Investigation revealed these passengers, New Jersey’s sports betting tourists, are accessing their mobile bookmaker apps. The application’s geo-location technology blocks usage outside out-of-state.
Hoboken sports bars have enjoyed a substantial influx of business, at least during times when public gatherings are without risk. Bridge and tunnel crossings have led to solitary sports bettors parking under bridges to bet before turning back around. There is a running joke: “Earn it in New York and lose it in New Jersey.”
New York legislators have looked on in envy as New Jersey annually sees millions in betting-related tax revenue find its way to the state treasury. Together with California, New York is one of America’s white whale betting markets. With the financial burden taken on during the pandemic, legalisation is now back on the table in the Hudson region.
In recent weeks state representatives have approved a competitive igaming framework and included projected revenues in the annual budget. If approved by the Governor Cuomo, ratification may be on the horizon, with big name operators already positioned to corner the market.
If 2021 is the year of New York online sports betting, New Jersey’s betting tourists may dwindle to race track goers and traditional in-person casino players. New Jersey’s multi-billion dollar annual wagerings may take a hard hit, with an unexpected impact on public transport revenues.