Sports betting in the state of Illinois started on the right foot and scored big in an unusual way. Considering the launch of mobile sports betting in the state was in mid-June, and COVID-19 had firmly gripped the sporting world, there was not a lot of choices. Well, if you are an American sports fan, there were not a lot of things to get excited about for your first wager. All the most popular sports leagues were not playing or between seasons. Fortunately, the Spanish Soccer League was up and running. Yes, the Spanish Soccer League. And this was legal sports betting.
Overseas Soccer Took The Most Bets
As odd as it may sound, Spanish soccer was the football game of choice in Illinois where 78% of the money wagered on the first day of mobile sports betting through the Rivers Casino sportsbook app. Officials from that casino located in Des Plaines indicated that about 60% of Illinois residents who created accounts via the online betting program had spent at least something on soccer. As to what games drew the most activity, it appeared that 56% of the money was wagered on La Liga Spanish football and Real Madrid’s win over Valencia. But that’s not all. Other hot sporting action bettors were spending money on included the PGA Golf Tour, with 17% of the handle, and Korean baseball which pulled in 5% of the wagers. Naturally, that will change once the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB seasons get underway.
Meanwhile, In New Jersey
The state of New Jersey has had legal gambling since June 11, 2018. There are currently 10 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks operating in the state along with 15 online sportsbooks. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is the state regulator and the most popular of the sportsbooks (rated on revenue or handle) are FanDuel and DraftKings. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa is also becoming a larger player in the online gambling industry. Stats collected from the DGE show that the largest monthly handle to date was recorded in August 2020 with $667,979,150 with 90.11% of that total ($601,942,486) wagered through the online sportsbooks. The sportsbooks earned a total revenue that month of $39,507,181 with state taxes totaling $4,919,340. New Jersey currently sits in second place in the United States for the total handle of the 19 states where sports gambling is legal. New Jersey is only second to Nevada. Illinois, still a relative newcomer to the game having legalized sports betting on June 28, 2019, is way down the list. Plus, in Illinois, just 7 brick-and-motor sportsbooks are operating and 5 online sportsbooks. Still, the Land of Lincoln set a monthly handle record in July 2020 with $52,524,612 wagered.
Speaking of Borgata
The Borgata is a hotel, casino, spa complex located in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It is one of the MGM Resorts International properties which features 2,798 rooms making it the largest hotel in the state. It opened in July 2003 and the casino contained within the structure happens to be the top-grossing casino in the city. The facility was built as part of a huge project in Atlantic City that was dubbed “The Tunnel Project” and was a revitalization program that started in 1999. It was launched when Steve Wynn started planning the construction of Le Jardin and wanted to connect a tunnel from the Atlantic Expressway to the resort. It was not the first time such a plan had been devised. The original discussions on creating such a thoroughfare date back to 1964. At that time, the idea was to connect Atlantic City with Brigantine with a roadway. Wynn’s plan, which started the process of revisiting the concept but now with a tunnel, went back to 1995. The main goal was to reduce traffic congestion on Atlantic City streets and increase access to Brigantine. Wynn’s proposal was supported by New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Atlantic City Mayor Jim Whelan. The Tunnel later named the Atlantic City-Brigantine Connector, cost $330-million and runs for 2.5-miles. It funnels traffic from the Expressway into the marina district of Atlantic City. Controversy arose when the tunnel was viewed as just an expressway to the Wynn casino. Cooler heads prevailed and the tunnel was built, and opened in 2001. Probably because it had support from two levels of government that saw the sensibility in creating the tunnel. The Le Jardin casino did not get built. The Borgata opened on July 2, 2003, and is a joint venture of MGM Mirage and Boyd Gaming.
The Borgata Sportsbook
For sports fans who want to play a little bit of money on their favorite sporting events, the Borgata Casino has a sportsbook. The brick-and-mortar location is inside the casino and provides a total of 10 betting windows and over 100 seats with individual flat-screen monitors. In addition to this site, the Borgata also has an online sportsbook located at BorgataSports.com. The online version, which went live in 2019, features many different sports to place bets on and focuses on popular American sporting leagues. For bettors who like to use online betting apps on the go, the Borgata Online Casino app is the perfect online mobile sportsbook. It is available in iOS and Android versions and provides access to all the same sports as the land-based casino including football, basketball, hockey, baseball, horse racing, mixed martial arts, NASCAR, soccer, and golf. You can find out more about this site by checking out this review.
While online sports betting continues to expand within the United States, some states have experienced interesting starts to their introduction to the industry. Illinois saw bettors opting for Spanish soccer games to wager on as nothing else was available at the time. New Jersey legalized online sports betting a year before Illinois and has seen several brick-and-mortar sportsbooks and online sportsbooks popping up all over the place. What does it mean? Sports fans are seeking ways to interact with the games they love (and have never seen before such as Spanish soccer) and if that means through online gambling, then legal sportsbooks have a future in the US.