LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The New Jersey sportsbooks are already topping us in Las Vegas. ESPN reports for the first time ever, New Jersey sportsbooks took in more money last month than those in Nevada.
New Jersey has only had legal sports betting for about a year. However, Nevada still has the overall lead for the amount of money wagered over the calendar year.
So, is this something Nevadan’s should be worried about — parity of a portion of our prized gaming industry?
In a state that’s used to being the leader of all things gaming, the ESPN headline from Thursday seems like something that would make one squirm: “NJ tops Nevada in bets in month for 1st time.”
Nevada sportsbooks saw $317 million in wagers last month while New Jersey saw $318 million.
“It’s not a cause for concern that New Jersey’s making more from sports betting than Nevada is because New Jersey has many, many more people than Nevada does,” said David Schwartz, gaming historian.
New Jersey has nearly three times the population of Nevada.
Noted gaming historian Dr. David Schwartz says just because sports betting has been legal in New Jersey for a year now doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening before.
“I think it would be very naive to suggest that nobody in New Jersey placed a bet before the state legalized it.
Nevada’s numbers are down slightly from last May’s as well.
The Westgate says fewer NBA playoff games — not as many series went to game 7 — are partially to blame.
And the Golden Knights didn’t make another run to the Stanley Cup Final which helped pump up last May’s numbers. That said, casino operators see sports betting as one area to grow revenues.
“While a lot of the other areas have been flatter or been stagnant, sports betting’s grown, so I think they’re looking at this as something that people really like to do, and I think that they want to get it right,” Schwartz said.
And even if that growth is outside of Nevada, the operators based here would profit.
Just look at MGM Resorts International. The company hired former Governor Brian Sandoval to among other things oversee sports betting nationwide for the company.