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Move over, Las Vegas. New Jersey is the new king of sports betting.

For nearly a full century, Sin City has been the gambling capital of the United States, especially when it comes to sports betting. If you wanted to place a (legal) bet on a sporting event, you had to head to Nevada and, more specifically, Vegas. But since sports betting became legal in New Jersey in 2018, the Garden State has steadily risen as a challenger to Nevada’s supremacy.

Last month, New Jersey officially eclipsed Nevada as the top state for sports gambling in the U.S. The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement released the 2020 numbers and the results were staggering. Bettors in NJ wagered $6 billion in 2020, surpassing the record handle of $5.4 billion that Nevada set in 2019. A total of $966.3 million in bets were placed in December, which set an all-time record for a single month.

New Jersey also has the top five most bet months in U.S. sports gambling history, according to Action Network. New Jersey sportsbooks also won $398.5 million in 2020, which is another yearly record for any state in the country.

Atlantic City has been a gambling destination for many years but sports betting was not among the options for consumers. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 outlawed sports betting but grandfathered in Montana, Delaware, Oregon and Nevada to make decisions at the state level for whether to allow sports gambling. New Jersey challenged PASPA in 2014 until the case reached the Supreme Court.

New Jersey prevailed in the courts and the state soon passed regulations to legalize sports betting. The result has been a major boost to the state’s economy, especially since New York has not allowed mobile gaming yet. With COVID-19 restrictions, the ability to use websites and mobile apps for sports betting has proved to be a difference-maker. Even Nevada relies on in-person registration to open betting accounts.

Locally, the Jersey Shore has a retail sportsbook at Monmouth Park, which is operated by William Hill.


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