Business up at New Jersey track, casino with sports bets
OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) — Arthur Rosen puzzled over the photocopied sheet of paper listing all sorts of exotic bets on baseball games, including one in which the number of runs scored and hits made in Tuesday night’s New York Yankees-Seattle Mariners game had to exceed 29.
“I lived in Vegas 20 years and I never heard of a bet like that,” the 83-year-old retired truck driver said.
Rosen was one of more than 100 people at a New Jersey racetrack at 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, ready to plunk down money on professional sports in the first week it has been legal here. Although revenue figures won’t be released for a few weeks yet, Monmouth Park racetrack and Atlantic City’s Borgata casino say they’re delighted with the extra business sports betting has generated in its first few days.
“We’re really pleased with the early results, especially considering it’s a slow time on the sports betting calendar,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, which runs the sports book at Monmouth Park.
Likewise, the Borgata is seeing an uptick in business at its race book, which has been expanded to cover sports bets.
“The revenue was definitely beyond what it would have been,” said spokeswoman Liza Costandino.
Sports betting is bringing new demographics into what was traditionally an older, male clientele at the Borgata’s horse racing betting operation. Younger customers are stopping in to bet on sports, including more women.
“A full bachelorette party came in and they all made sports bets,” Costandino said.
The casinos and tracks report their sports betting revenue to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which will publicly release monthly totals along with traditional casino revenue. The next such report is due for release July 12, and neither the Borgata nor Monmouth would reveal their totals before then.
Last month, New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case that cleared the way for all 50 states to offer sports betting, including wagers on individual games, should they desire. Delaware was the first state to begin doing so after the court decision; New Jersey was the second.
So far in New Jersey, just the Borgata and Monmouth Park are offering sports betting. The soon-to-open Ocean Resort Casino, formerly known as Revel, is due to open June 28 and plans to offer sports betting on its first day of operation, owner Bruce Deifik said.
The property will go before state gambling regulators on Wednesday to seek a casino license. William Hill will run the sports betting operation for Ocean Resort as well as Monmouth Park. Eventually, most of Atlantic City’s casinos (there will be nine by the end of next week) and its three racetracks plan to offer sports betting.
Both facilities said the early action has been mostly on individual baseball games and World Cup soccer matches. Customers also are making long-term bets on who will win the World Series or Super Bowl, a market segment expected to increase as the baseball playoffs and the start of the NFL season draw closer in the fall.
Michael Black, of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, was at Monmouth Park to wager on Tuesday’s Cubs-Dodgers baseball game, betting that the two teams combined would score 9 or more runs. A boiler installer, Black tends to be busier in the fall, and has been able to visit Monmouth Park several times since sports betting began last Thursday. He’s up $175 so far, he said.
“As soon as football opens, this place is going to be packed,” he said. “This has been a long time coming.”
Fred Reyes, of Jersey City, had been to the track four times since last Thursday, and had yet to lose a sports bet.
“So far I’m up close to $1,000,” he said, betting on the Cubs to win Tuesday.
Rosen was enjoying the many novel ways he could risk money on sporting events, particularly on a bet combining runs and hits in a baseball game.
“The Mets and Colorado is 32,” he said. “That’s a whole lot. You think the Yankees will score in the first inning? It’s tough, huh?”
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