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New Jersey sets sports wagering history with first monthly win over Nevada

New Jersey during May became the first US state to have more legal sports wagering than Nevada in any given month.

The Division of Gaming Enforcement in New Jersey reported its sportsbooks had a total sports handle of $318.9 million during May, $1.5 million more than the $317.4 million in handle the Nevada Gaming Control Board reported for the month in that state. 

The totals help outline the sizable and still-growing impact of last year’s US Supreme Court ruling striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) of 1992 and allowing states beyond Nevada to offer legalized sports wagering.

And rather than New Jersey taking market share or cannibalizing Nevada’s handle, the overall pie for sports wagering is growing as Nevada’s sports wagering handle was still its best ever for that month and followed a March in which the NCAA men’s basketball tournament helped the state to $597 million in handle, its best ever in any month.

New Jersey, meanwhile, also continues to benefit in part from relative inaction by neighboring New York on legalized sports wagering. New York will allow four upstate casinos to take bets by this fall, likely in time for college and pro football, but it won’t have mobile wagering until 2020 at the earliest. But mobile betting already comprises more than 80 percent of New Jersey’s legal sports betting, boosted by the state’s rapid moves last year to legalize wagering following the Supreme Court ruling.

Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s Governor, predicted such a scenario earlier this month at the East Coast Gaming Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

“We’re staring straight at the possibility of something that would have been unthinkable just 18 months ago that New Jersey – yes, New Jersey – can very soon dethrone Nevada as the sports-gaming capital of America,” Murphy said at the conference.

But little did he know it had actually already happened by the time he made those remarks. New Jersey’s sports wagering numbers for May were released back on June 12, while the Nevada Gaming Control Board figures were released early on June 27, confirming New Jersey’s win for the month.