Last Friday, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released its September sports betting numbers, and the results were astounding. Sports bettors wagered a whopping $184 million, good for a 96 percent increase from August’s total of $95.6 million. Considering that sports gambling has only been legal in the state since June 14th, these numbers beat even the most optimistic of expectations.
The massive jump can be attributed to a whole host of factors: the start of the football season, recently launched mobile and online sports betting options, attractive sportsbook promo codes and increased interest in the activity among the general population.
According to official reports from the state, September saw New Jersey sports betting register $23.96 million in gross revenue, almost tripling August’s gross revenue figure of $9.1 million. The number of Wagers also climbed 92.3 percent. With growth like this, it’s only a matter of time before other states follow suit in legalizing sports gambling.
Since the United States Supreme Court declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) unconstitutional, six states have made sports betting legal: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Mexico (in that order). Pennsylvania or Rhode Island are likely next.
And for every state where sports betting is legalized, the teams that play in that state will have to be prepared.
Rutgers, New Jersey’s state school, is situated less than 110 miles from Atlantic City, America’s secondary gambling mecca behind only Las Vegas.
Gambling is really huge in New Jersey, and RU head coaches in the revenue sports know this quite well.
We spoke about New Jersey sports betting with Rutgers men’s basketball coach Steve Pikiell at Big Ten Basketball Media Day. On the day before the state released its September financial figures, Pikiell discussed how he has to educate his team about the business, and the problems it can pose.
“We’ve had them (his players) meet some people,” Pikiell said.
“It’s just another thing we have to educate on. We have to educate them about a lot of topics throughout the course of their careers and this is just another one that’s very important, and it’s important that they’re educated and not naive about sports betting”
“We just need to keep these guys aware of the pitfalls.”
Rutgers football coach Chris Ash echoed those sentiments, adding that program wide education is required. It’s not just the kids who need to be brought up to speed.
“It’s just continued education, one, about the whole gambling being legalized situation and talking to them about that,” said Ash.
“It’s not only the players, but it’s your coaches, your support staff and everybody involved in the program.”
It’s inevitable that more states will legalize sports wagering, and when they do, more teams will be having these same kinds of conversations.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.Follow paulmbanks