The state of New Jersey continues to crush it in the mobile sports betting realm.
Big brother New York, meanwhile, continues to drag its feet.
The Garden State had one of its best months to date in January as it totaled $540.1 million in sports betting handle. That number was the best in the country, even eclipsing traditional powerhouse Nevada.
A sizable chunk of New Jersey’s hefty sports betting total comes from New York residents, who are crossing the river often to place a bet at one of New Jersey’s retail shops or via mobile betting.
FanDuel CEO Matt King recently said that “over one in five” people who place sports wagers in New Jersey are New York state residents.
New York born, New York bred
FanDuel Sportsbook is having the most amount of success in New Jersey, and it has lined itself up as the top legal online sportsbook in this new US market.
The company is based in New York and has Manhattan roots, so it comes as no surprise that figureheads at the company are upset with the way state legislators are dilly-dallying.
King recently penned a column for Syracuse.com regarding how hungry New Yorkers are for legalized sports betting in the state.
“Just over 10 years ago, we were a small tech startup holding our first contest with fewer than a dozen contestants,” King wrote. “Today, we have millions of customers nationwide, more than a thousand employees, and remain headquartered in Manhattan. The talent and creativity of New Yorkers have driven our success, while hundreds of thousands of New York’s most committed sports fans are some of our best customers.
“Yet thousands of New York customers travel out of state to play on our platform because the state only allows sports betting at Upstate casinos, the closest of which, Tioga Downs, is hours away from much of Downstate New York. Instead of making the trip, many New Yorkers are either betting illegally or taking a quick train ride from Manhattan to bet in New Jersey.”
FanDuel and the push for mobile
FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands does tremendous business but many New York bettors aren’t even making the trek that far. The instant they cross the border into New Jersey, they are able to access over a dozen legal sports betting apps on their phones.
“When we launched our operations in New Jersey, our strategy was clear: target the huge illegal market and offer those players a legal option,” King continued. “Mobile wagering is key to this approach. The vast illegal market, dominated by organized crime, makes wagering easy by allowing people to bet on their phones. Convincing those customers to join a regulated market, where taxes are collected and problem gaming can be stopped, requires offering a similarly convenient product. New Jersey residents responded to legalized mobile sports betting in droves, and roughly 90% of sports betting in New Jersey now takes place online.
“But it turned out that New Yorkers were equally excited. More than one in five customers who use our platform in New Jersey comes from New York. Our New Jersey retail location is located at the Meadowlands racetrack, which is located 20 minutes by mass transit from midtown Manhattan. Compare that to our retail location in Upstate New York, which is 3½ hours from New York City — and the easiest way to reach it is to drive through New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which both offer mobile sports wagering.”
Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow continue to argue that monies gained in sports betting could dramatically help the state’s rising deficit.
“Fueled by the current need for revenue, along with the constant desire to increase educational funding and address the serious issue of gaming addiction, I will continue to work with the Governor’s Administration, my leadership and colleagues to promote the inclusion of mobile sports betting in the 2020-2021 state budget,” Sen. Addabbo Jr. told PlayNY last month. “I believe that in the end, actual facts and figures, such as the monies lost to New Jersey and the unregulated illegal sports betting in New York, should result in our state realizing that its people deserve to have a safe, convenient and legal way to place a mobile sports bet in New York.”
The state has until April 1 to set a budget.