New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy placed the first legal bet in the State betting on Germany to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the New Jersey Devils to win the 2019 Stanley Cup.
He placed the bets at Monmouth Park, a horse racing track in Oceanport, close to the Jersey shore.
Governor Murphy said: “There’s an old axiom that you can bet with your head and not with your heart. So for the past seven years, our heads and hearts were aligned as we fought to overturn, an unlawful and unfair federal law. We knew in our heads we were right and we knew in our hearts we would win and we did. This is a huge step forward for the tracks and the economy of the state. We’ve got a lot of good times ahead.”
Dennis Drazin, Chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, operators of the racetrack, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Governor Murphy to Monmouth Park for this momentous occasion. Throughout this process Governor Murphy has always had Monmouth Park’s back and as a Monmouth County resident we’re delighted that sports betting in New Jersey gets started right in his backyard.”
British bookmaker William Hill teamed up with Monmouth Park to offer sports betting years before it was even possible, in anticipation of its legalisation.
“I’m super-excited,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, “excited, not just for ourselves, but for sports fans across the country. We’ve been working towards this day for a long time. Just as we have with our 100+ locations in Nevada, we look forward to working to make legal and regulated sports betting a big winner for consumers, state governments and all interested parties across the country. If we do this the right way, the only losers will be the illegal bookies that have been operating a massive black market.”
Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill offers a diverse sports betting menu that includes football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, and more. The complex features a 15-window main sports book, and an integrated sports bar, with over 40 HDTVs showing live sporting events and dynamic betting lines.
Oceanport Borough Council President Joseph Irace said:”It’s like Christmas Day here, the amount of media, the amount of people here. You almost never thought it would come to fruition. To see it come to fruition here is very exciting. We want to get this place [Monmouth Park] operating 365 days a year, instead of just three months out of the year. It’s going to be good for everybody.”
Borgata, Atlantic City’s leading casino in terms of revenue, became the first of the seven casinos in the east coast resort to offer legalised sports-betting shortly after.
“This is a proud day for Borgata and a proud day for New Jersey,” said Marcus Glover, President & Chief Operating Officer of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “Today opens a whole new era in New Jersey sports entertainment. One we anticipate will bring new interest, excitement, and economic benefits to our community. Borgata is proud to list today’s first among the many innovative firsts we’ve accomplished as we celebrate our first 15 years in Atlantic City.”
The honor of placing the first sports bet at an Atlantic City Casino went to Hall-of-Fame basketball legend Julius Erving. The gifted star of the Philadelphia 76ers and a long-time Borgata guest, Dr. J was invited by the resort to place the historic bet. The Philadelphia NBA legend maintained his allegiance to his team’s home city but crossed-over from basketball to football when making his first bet at Borgata.
“I bet on the Eagles to repeat,” said Mr. Erving, holding up his ticket after placing a $5 bet on the Philadelphia NFL team to win the pro football championship. At the time of the wager the Borgata betting line for the Eagles to repeat as champions was 8 to 1.
Alongside Dr. J at the next betting window, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney, who was instrumental in passing the state’s sports wagering legislation, made a $200 bet on the Green Bay Packers to win the pro football championship.
While both men proudly displayed their first tickets for customers and media gathered for the occasion, Dr. J asked President Sweeney about his bet. Upon learning Sweeney made a competing bet on the Packers, Dr. J remarked, “Then you’re going down.”
As the only Atlantic City casino with an existing race book, Borgata was uniquely prepared to begin operations quickly. The Borgata Race Book has been renamed Borgata Race & Sports Book and will remain in its established location.
Plans for significant additions to complement existing Borgata Race & Sports Book facilities are in final stages of design. Details and timeline of those enhancements will be announced in the coming weeks.
As a part of MGM Resorts International, Borgata brings the wealth of that company’s Sports Book experience to its new operation. MGM Resorts International possesses more than 25 years of sports wagering operations experience in Nevada, where the company’s resorts combine to write more than 4 million sports wagers each year with an annual handle in excess of $1 billion.
Sports and sports betting are key entertainment experiences that drive ongoing consumer engagement. “As Borgata celebrates 15 years as both leaders and innovators in the Atlantic City market, we are committed to delivering a best-in-market sports book environment for our customers to enjoy. Having spent decades successfully operating sports books in Nevada and building trust with both customers and regulators, Borgata and MGM Resorts are well-positioned to be a leader in sports wagering,” said Mr. Glover.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa continues to raise the bar in Atlantic City, 15 years after its momentous debut, offering guests the biggest names in entertainment, exclusive culinary experiences, as well as unique casino promotions and special events.
Mr. Glover added, “Since entering the market in 2003, Borgata has made it our mission to grow and invest in not only our property and product, but our team members and guests; offering an unrivaled experience to anyone who walks through our doors.”