New Jersey repealed the ban on sports wagering in their state last year, but New York did not follow suit. As a result, large numbers of New Yorkers hop across the NJ border to gamble in the most unlikely of places: train stations and nearby bars.
Rather than spend large amounts of time visiting casinos, many New Yorkers are taking advantage of the ease and convenience of gambling online with their phones. And since New Jersey law states that online gambling must be physically done in the state where it is legal, New York gamblers have discovered a loophole: train station gambling.
Many New Yorkers find it easy to take commuter trains to the larger New Jersey train stations like Hoboken Station – and quickly place sports bets via their smartphones. Geolocation software ensures that all online gambling is done physically within the legal boundaries of New Jersey, but another type of data has emerged. A huge amount of money is being wagered in New Jersey by non-residents of the state, and most of them are New Yorkers.
Many of these mobile gamblers take advantage of the efficient rail travel from Manhattan to outlying areas, putting New Jersey train stations like Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark within easy reach.
Gambling in Bars
On weekends, the gambling commuters spill over from the train stations into local bars for a drink and a wager. Fueling this traffic is a few advertising campaigns by big online sportsbooks like DraftKings or PointsBet. These companies also send reps to Jersey bars to promote online wagering events in the bars.
Several commuter trains and stations are plastered with gambling ads relevant for New York commuters. The leader in New Jersey sports betting, Flutter Entertainment, said 22% of its mobile bettors hail from New York. Many are waiting for connecting trains, but others come specifically to Jersey to place wagers.
Bar owners have noticed the trend and are responding favorably to the extra cash influx. New Jersey bars are frequented by several reps from gaming companies located in New Jersey, as well as single men coming into to town from New York.
The change in gambling laws in New Jersey pumped $4 billion in sports wagers into the state in 2019. And if New York wants a piece of the sports wagering pie, they’d better get on the train and legalize it.
Otherwise, New Jersey will be happy to keep taking a bite out of the Big Apple.
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