By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New Jersey’s sportsbooks made $9.2 million of gross revenue in August, bringing the total so far this year to $16.5 million since the state began allowing legal sports wagers in June, state gambling officials said on Wednesday.
Sports fans, gamblers and other U.S. states are watching what happens in New Jersey, one of the first and most aggressive states to expand legal sports betting since it won its case before the U.S. Supreme Court in May.
Altogether, people bet $95.6 million on sports in August in New Jersey, for a total handle of nearly $153 million since going live on June 14, according to numbers released by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement.
Those numbers are sure to grow significantly with the National Football League season now underway. The Super Bowl, the NFL championship game held in February, has drawn nearly $5 billion in illegal bets in the past, according to the American Gaming Association, a casino industry group.
“We could see sports betting grow by more than 300 percent in September as NFL and college football ramp up, and the number of options for online sports wagering in New Jersey continues to grow,” PlayNJ.com analyst Dustin Gouker said.
“Once mature, we expect New Jersey to be a much larger market than Nevada,” Gouker said, adding that New Jersey could become the biggest legal U.S. sports betting market within a year.
Sports betting also rose in August in New Jersey because it went online. Players can now place a bet from anywhere inside of the state borders, not just from the grounds of casinos and horse racetracks.
DraftKings Sportsbook was first, going live on Aug. 1 with a soft launch through Resorts Casino Hotel. On Aug. 22, playMGM rolled out online sports wagers, with SugarHouse starting the next day.
Other online sportsbooks have also launched in New Jersey this month, including FanDuel.
DraftKings told Reuters that more than 100,000 bets were placed through its sportsbook during Sunday’s season-opening NFL games.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Bill Berkrot)