New Jersey Sports-Betting Handle Expected To Surpass $10bn In 2021

October 27, 2021
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The leading gaming regulator in New Jersey on Tuesday said his state’s sports-betting handle this year could double the highest amount ever recorded in Nevada.

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The leading gaming regulator in New Jersey on Tuesday said his state’s sports-betting handle this year could double the highest amount ever recorded in Nevada.

But sports betting is not the only New Jersey gaming sector on track for a record year, according to David Rebuck, who has been the director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for more than a decade.

“I never thought it could happen but there’s a high probability we will exceed more than $1bn in GGR (gross gaming revenue) just on online casino gambling,” Rebuck said during an appearance as a panelist at the East Coast Gaming Congress in Atlantic City.

As for sports betting, Rebuck said, “it’s exceeded my wildest expectations.”

Last week, New Jersey became the first state to surpass $1bn in a month for sports wagers after announcing its total for September. In the year-to-date, total sports wagering handle has exceeded $7bn, versus just over $6bn for the whole of 2020, according to VIXIO GamblingCompliance data.

On Tuesday, Rebuck predicted New Jersey will end this year with more than $10bn in sports-betting handle.

Rebuck has never hidden his desire to overtake Nevada, which had a de facto monopoly on legal sports betting from 1949 until May 14, 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled other states could legalize wagers on games.

“I think [Nevada’s] best year ever might have been $5bn in handle,” he said.

Rebuck also said illegal offshore betting sites “must have been lying” about how much money they were really making before the 2018 Supreme Court decision.

“If we’re doing it legally and can have that amount of handle in one state, there must have been a massive amount of money that was being filtered through the offshore sites,” Rebuck said.

The dominant region in the U.S. for sports betting in the future, Rebuck said, is likely to be what he called “the I-95 Corridor of states”, which are located on the main interstate highway running north to south on the East Coast.

Those states include Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The numbers for internet gambling are persuasive evidence that online gaming bolsters brick-and-mortar casinos instead of cannibalizing them as many in the industry had feared, Rebuck said.

“Where are we going to get that kind of growth in the retail market in Atlantic City in the last eight years?” he asked.

“We’d be ecstatic to have a billion dollars in retail [gaming]. It wasn’t going to happen.”

Cybersecurity is one of the issues that accompany internet gambling, and Rebuck said New Jersey is considering changing its regulatory standards to address the threat of hacking and other security breaches.

“There’s always an interesting dialogue that occurs [between New Jersey regulators and industry officials], but the industry knows what the goal is,” Rebuck said.

The adversarial relationship between regulators and gaming operators, he said, is becoming more cooperative.

“With cybersecurity and responsible gaming, [industry operators] are worlds better in how they approach these issues than they were when I was first involved in 2011,” Rebuck said.

“I think that’s because gaming is so much more mainstream,” he said. “And that’s a feather in the cap of the industry to know that they have responsibilities other than just trying to make a penny here and there from people.”

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