Analysis

Sports betting ‘only scratched the surface’ says Rebuck

Sports betting in the US has only scratched the surface when it comes to revenues, suggests the regulator in New Jersey.

Speaking during a webinar late last week, Dave Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), said the US had only “scratched the surface” of expanded sports betting.

Pointing to New Jersey’s data, he noted New Jersey was only the 11th most populous state.

“Ten other states have more people than we do, and only two of those states today have legalized sports wagering,” Rebuck said.

Rebuck was speaking on an International Association of Gaming Advisors webinar.

He told the audience that “gambling is always successful where you have a population base to support it.”

The tale of the tape

The recent data bolsters Rebuck’s argument. In New Jersey, handle hit $803m in October while revenue stood at $58.5m. This was a national record.

Similarly, Pennsylvania has also been racking up the numbers. In October, handle rose to a  record $526m.

New Jersey and Pennsylvania are now the leading gaming-friendly states as measured by the Wedge Index.

Rebuck suggested the example has been set by the leading sports betting states.

“There is no reason that those ten states should not exceed the same level of handle and success that New Jersey has,” he said.

The next state likely to see records broken is Illinois. It the sixth most populous state and early data suggests it is catching the sport betting wave.

Illinois’ operators have been helped by the lifting of the in-person registration requirement on the part of Gov. Pritzker.

Competitive picture

Rebuck noted the pick-up of new entrants into the most competitive markets was a sign of how valuable the gambling industry now saw sports betting

He suggested that casino and gaming interests were now much more willing to ‘own’ sports betting than was previously the case.

“The old operational model of ‘It’s a partnership and they’ll take the risk and we’ll take our money and be happy’ is ending,” he said. 

Just in recent weeks, Wynn has spoken about bolstering its sports-betting business and Twin River/Bally has significantly boosted its own operational capability.

Rebuck also claimed that the offshore bookies no longer had a foothold in New Jersey.

“Bovada, BetOnLine, they don’t take customers from New Jersey anymore,” he said.

“Are they still engaged in other states? Yes.”

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Scott Longley

Scott Longley has been a journalist since the early noughties covering personal finance, sport and the gambling industry. He has worked for a number of publications including Investor's Week, Bloomberg Money, Football First, EGR and GamblingCompliance.com. He now writes for online and print titles across a wide range of sectors.

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