When former government Chris Christie took New Jersey's efforts to legalize sports betting to the Supreme Court, it was considered a long shot, like betting on Mets to win the World Series.
Although the state did not have a strong affiliation with sports betting, New Jersey quickly became a cruiser for the industry.
Now, a year after the state's surprising Supreme Court window brought statutory sports betting to any state that wanted it, New Jersey has become the sports sports capital of the country.
Bettors put more in New Jersey than in any other state in the country in May, and walked past Nevada and the famous Las Vegas sports books with $ 1.5 million. New Jersey sports books took $ 318.9 million in games while Nevada took $ 317.4 million .
"It happened a little faster than we thought," said Mr. Christie, a Republican who went office last year. "But I had no doubt that we would just be based on demography and how we structured the matter, which we would do extraordinarily."
Although other states have embraced legal sports betting following the Supreme Court's ruling, New Jersey has been at the forefront of racetracks and casinos in Atlantic City's opening windows within days of Philip D. Murphy's signing of the formal legal provisions. Mobile sports betting apps soon followed.
Results have been staggering, even for bullish insiders. Over the past 12 months since sports betting, New Jersey has taken more than $ 2.9 billion in sports games which resulted in nearly $ 200 million in revenue for several sports books .
"It's not uncommon to get someone to bet $ 100,000 on a game, and that has been a bit surprising to me," said Jeffrey Gural, sports book operator at the Meadowlands Path.
He has seen $ 5,000 bets placed on a 100-to-1 ticket on a weeknight slate of baseball games; It netted a lucky $ 500,000 gambler. "It was disappointing for us," Gural said.
For years, the argument for the legalization of sports betting was that it would be a shot of adrenaline for the state's dull casinos and horse racing, a new source of revenue that would also draw a more consistent all-year audience to the venues struggling to reside heavily on summer stop.
While the casino and racing industry is still facing significant challenges, the owners of the state eat two major horse credit games by raising their fortunes.
"I don't know how much longer I could have kept that place and losing millions of dollars a year just because I love motorcycle racing," Gural said on the Meadowlands track. "At some point you pull the plug. So, it all helped."
Sports games have not been the only savior for racing. Mr. Murphy, a Democrat, approved a $ 100 million subsidy in February for the State Horse Racing, about eight months after sports betting was legalized.
Dennis Drazen, operator of the Monmouth Park track and a key force in the effort to legalize sports betting, said the track most likely would not have been able to make the case for the subsidy without the introduction of sports betting, which showed that the track was viable.
The new venture business added dozens of jobs in the field of sports betting and several jobs for safety and food and beverage trading.
"It has put the track on a good fiscal basis," Drazen said.
In Atlantic City, the effect of sports betting is mixed. Most casinos have seen revenue declines in the year since sports betting was legalized, but this is largely due to two new casinos – Hard Rock and Ocean Resorts – opened last year and diluted business.
Nevertheless, sports betting seems to have helped increase the number of visitors to Atlantic City, officials said.
But the most popular form of sports betting in New Jersey is not on tracks and casinos, but on smartphones: About 80 percent of the games are made on mobile devices . Bettors must be physically in the state to do sports games.
"Over the past year, New Jersey has in many ways risen to the center of the sports betting universe, largely thanks to the Garden States embrace of mobile technology," said Jamie Shea, director of digital sports book operations at DraftKings, a sports fantasy company. We've taken over 20 million bets via mobile and paid out over $ 600 million alone in New Jersey. "
The four best gaming options for DraftKings have all been along the Hudson River towards New York City, and underline the great impact of New Yorkers Flooding the New Jersey Market
During the football season in the fall and winter, some bettors would ride on the road from Manhattan to the station in Hoboken just long enough to get cell phone service, bet and then take the next train back to New York.
"I know people who drive to the Vince Lombardi resting station just to make their bets and then turn around and go back to town," Christie said. The rest of the station is not far from the George Washington Bridge.
How long New Jersey can maintain the sports betting crown is unclear. Although sports betting seems to be years away in New York, Pennsylvania has recently legalized sports betting.
But for now, New Jersey can count on large and dedicated sports fans bases in New York and Philadelphia, which could drive it through sports betting doldrums of the summer before football begins.
According to PlayNJ, a site that tracks the industry, New Jersey players have a stronger preference for basketball and baseball than those in Nevada.
And the sports books feel the pressure.
"The Yankees kill us because they win every day, and Mets kills us because they lose every day," Gural said.
Although he put sports betting as a business that would benefit the state, Christie himself has become an active player. Armed with the DraftKings app, Mr. Christie has built up a modest betting witch egg.
"I'm up with $ 1,634.95," Christie Christie said. "I'm betting on Tiger Woods for the Masters, it was a big one. I got it on the 15-to-1."
He attributed much of his success to avoiding bets on Mets, his favorite baseball team.
"If you bet on someone, but Mets," he said, "you're doing pretty well."