ew Jersey governor Phil Murphy, one of the main characters around last year’s groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing sports betting, was given a standing ovation Thursday at a gaming conference in Atlantic City, where he proclaimed the Garden State to be the nation’s coming number 1 location for sports wagering.
“New Jersey — yes, New Jersey — can very soon and will very soon dethrone Nevada as the sports gaming capital of America,” Murphy said in his luncheon keynote for the East Coast Gaming Conference and NextGen Gaming Forum at the Harrah’s Conference Center.
Thrilled to address the @EastCoastGaming Congress and tell our story. From sports betting to a regulatory culture that allows for innovation to @NJCRDA's community-based investments, New Jersey and Atlantic City are back in business. #ECG23 pic.twitter.com/wwNyOCn0qC— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) 13 de junio de 2019
New Jersey has taken in nearly USD 3 billion in sports bets since legal sports betting launched last June, and is likely to overtake Nevada in gross sports handle in the next year. Sixteen states have legalized sports betting in the last year, and about eight, including Pennsylvania and Delaware, have launched operations.
Murphy was elected in 2017 and inherited the sports-betting litigation initiated by Gov. Chris Christie — the case had been renamed Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association by the time the Supreme Court made its decision. Murphy placed the first legal sports wager in New Jersey’s history at Monmouth Park Racetrack.
He embraced sports betting and the Atlantic City gambling industry as major economic drivers in New Jersey. He said the industry was driving “a new mindset and a new sense of optimism" about the Shore resort. The boost from sports betting and last year’s reopening of two casino-hotels in Atlantic City contributed to a 7 percent increase — $200 million in gaming revenue last year, he said. Atlantic City reported a 20 percent increase in room-night stays — up by 151,000 — and a 30 percent increase in related sales tax revenue from tourism, he added.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement on Wednesday reported that total gaming revenue for May was $276.8 million compared with $217.7 million in May 2018, a 27.1 percent increase. Sports betting gross revenue was $15.5 million for the month on $318.9 million in bets placed.
In April, New Jersey reported $313 million in sports betting revenue, compared with Nevada’s $328 million the same month. New Jersey's May could top Nevada's, which will not release its May data until later this month. Nevada generated a $315.5 million handle in May 2018. In the 12 months since sports betting was legalized, casino operators and their online partners have generated nearly $195 million in revenue.