New York is pretty close to legal sports betting. Physically, it is quite close. In fact, if you’re standing on a certain set of NY rooftops, you might even be able to see legal sports betting.
This weekend, the FanDuel Sportsbook at the New Meadowlands Racetrack opened for business just across the border in New Jersey.
It’s not quite NY sports betting, but it’s the next best thing for the 20 million folks in the New York City metropolitan area.
FanDuel has a sportsbook?
You have probably heard of FanDuel, and you may even count yourself among their seven million DFS customers. The state has regulated NY daily fantasy sports since 2016.
In these more recent times of legal sports betting, however, FanDuel has begun a hard pivot.
Meadowlands opened the first-ever FanDuel Sportsbook at 11 a.m. on Saturday, making it the fourth live sportsbook in NJ.
FanDuel CEO Matt King was aglow during the grand opening ceremony:
The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands is representative of our commitment to creating a best-in-class experience for sports fans everywhere. The way that people interact with sports is changing. We are on the cusp of something that will be dramatic and will be transformational of how people engage with the teams they love.
The 5,300-square-foot space is open seven days a week from mid-morning until 1 a.m. (or 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings). By the time football season arrives, Meadowlands expects to have 65 TV screens and 15 betting windows.
PlayUSA was on site for the opening if you want a first-hand account.
Given how actively DFS sites distanced themselves from sports betting in the past, we’re still getting over the shock of seeing FanDuel branding on a retail sportsbook.
Fellow DFS heavyweight DraftKings is also preparing to enter the sports betting arena. Under its new partnership with del Lago, it seems to be eying up a future DraftKings-branded retail operation in NY, as well.
A sportsbook in the Meadowlands
Gov. Phil Murphy signed NJ sports betting into law last month, and a couple properties were ready to go. The state’s first betting ticket was printed at Monmouth Park three days later. Borgata and the Ocean Resort Casino have since opened their sportsbooks in Atlantic City, too.
Meadowlands wasn’t quite ready to go, but it didn’t miss by much. Less than a month after the pivotal US Supreme Court ruling in May, Chairman Jeff Gural announced a partnership with bookmaker Paddy Power Betfair. A month later, his property has live sports betting.
Meadowlands is just across the NJ border in East Rutherford. If you’re a fan of the New York Giants or Jets, you know the spot. The racetrack casino lives in the shadows of MetLife Stadium.
It’s about eight miles across the Lincoln Tunnel if you’re driving in from the City, and 20 miles from the border on the Garden State Parkway.
If you’re riding in, NJ Transit Bus 160 stops directly at the grandstand. How many sportsbooks have a bus stop on site? Even better, a $5.25 round-trip train ticket includes free taxi fare between the station and the complex.
The deal between Gural and PPB also includes a placeholder for one of his NY casinos, as well. Tioga Downs will have a FanDuel-branded sportsbook if/when NY sports betting becomes legal.
Online/mobile FanDuel Sportsbook coming soon
At the moment, it’s not clear if the Meadowlands’ sportsbook will be open for business on NFL game days. The property’s lease requires it to close when MetLife Stadium is hosting a game unless it enters into separate agreements with the Giants and Jets.
“I think they’re trying to figure out what the NFL will allow them to do,” Gural said of the home teams. “And then we will reach out and hopefully come to some agreement on what we can and can’t do.”
Unless that happens soon, online/mobile betting might be the only options on Sundays. Expect the handheld version of the FanDuel Sportsbook to launch before the season starts, allowing anyone physically located in the state to bet.
That’s more good news for New Yorkers along the NJ border. When online/mobile betting launches, NY bettors will simply need to step across the dotted line to place a legal wager.