Thursday marked a historic official victory for the state of New Jersey that will no doubt be remembered for years to come.
After serving as the battleground between the federal government and proponents of sports betting, the state became one of the first to take legal wagers outside of Nevada.
Fittingly, the location of the long-awaited festivities was none other than the Monmouth Park racetrack at the brand new William Hill Sports Bar. In many ways it felt like the only place to start after the tireless efforts of its CEO to see a dream realized.
While most gaming establishments are scrambling to prepare for the dawn of sports betting beyond Vegas, Dennis Drazin is helping to usher it in. He took a calculated risk, after all, and it paid off.
Long before the Supreme Court struck down The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, Drazin preemptively began to build out the track’s sports bar into a fully functional sportsbook. He saw the writing on the wall and the opportunity to be a trailblazer in a new industry.
He invested loads of time and millions of dollars into the project and now is reaping the benefits as New Jersians lined up to place their wagers at his venue Thursday.
“It's a historic day for Monmouth Park and for the state of New Jersey. We've been fighting this fight for more than six years in the courts, and now that this day has arrived, and judging by the response from the fans who turned out for this, it's exciting. Clearly, it's something the people of New Jersey have been waiting for.”
While on-location betting now has the green light, the venue thus far cannot offer mobile and online options. This however, will change soon as Drazin promised the debut of mobile betting in around 30 days.
That’s right. New Jersians will soon be able to bet on the go!
SCOTUS, Local Government Make Sports Betting Happen in NJ
All of Drazin’s work would have been for naught had the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the NCAA against the state of New Jersey. The SCOTUS, however, ruled to overturn PASPA, the 1992 federal ban on sports wagering with some exceptions (Delaware parlays, Vegas etc.)
The decision was just handed down in May, but it took less than a month for New Jersey to get business up and running thanks to a relatively easy passage of the necessary legislation by state government.
Prominent New Jersey government officials who played a big role in the deliberations, Governor Phil Murphy and Senator Raymond Lesniak, were also on hand and took part in the festivities.
Murphy, whom the court case was named after when he took over for former governor Chris Christie, was honored with the first official wagers. It was Murphy’s signature on Assembly Bill 411 after it breezed through the legislature that officially legalized the practice after all.
Ever the people’s politician, he took the New Jersey Devils at 40/1 odds of winning the Stanley Cup and Germany at 7/2 to win the 2018 World Cup. Meanwhile, Lesniak bet on his New York Giants to win the Super Bowl at 35/1 odds while taking the French to win the World Cup at 11/2.
Not to be outdone, the Borgata became the first establishment in Atlantic City, a gambling mecca of the U.S., to take bets and offered its own celebrity spectacle.
NBA Hall of Famer Julius Erving of New York Nets and Philadelphia 76ers fame was on hand to place the first bet at the property. After some deliberation, he picked the Eagles to repeat as Super Bowl champions with some confidence after deciding he would go with a “long-term” bet.
The casino also only offers in-person betting, but was the first to take the monumental step with many other Atlantic City locations slated to join. Both the newly constructed Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resorts Casino are expected to offer sports betting this year.