Will Legal Sports Betting Help Boost New Jersey Bars and Restaurants?

Kenny Ekert considers the impact of legal sports betting in New Jersey on the success of bars and restaurants in the state.

Ever since June 2018, legalized sports betting in the state of New Jersey has done unbelievable things within New Jersey. The Assembly Bill 4111 has not just revived the state’s casinos and horse-racing industries, but also positively impacted the state’s unemployment rate, tax revenue and reasons for outsiders to visit New Jersey. As of 2020, seventeen legal online and retail sportsbooks have been licensed by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, bringing in billions of dollars ever since the assembly bill was put into effect in August 2018. Last year alone, New Jersey overtook Nevada for sports betting primacy, where betters wagered more than $4.58 billion. That alone has sparked a strong question, will legal sports betting help boost New Jersey bars and restaurants in the future?

Sports betting in New Jersey is the new norm within the state and has grown within the state in a huge way. Retail and online betting within New Jersey has boosted the casinos and horse-racing industries but also have created revenue for the top sportsbook in the state. FanDuel, which are headquartered in the Meadowlands, have had incredible numbers within their digital revenue. Alone, FanDuel’s digital revenue in December 2019 was six times the retail revenue at their Meadowlands headquarters. Mobile and online betting accounts for 80 percent of all bets in New Jersey, where the other 20 percent accounts for retail betting. To online bet, geolocation is required for all sportsbooks accounts to have on their devices for placing bets before and during the competition. At the same time, customers are constantly going to bars and restaurants to watch sporting events with their friends rather than being at home and watching in their kitchen. It is the thrill of being in a crowded room, filled with fans of all kinds watching their respective sports while having a drink and eating wings. Revenue in bars and restaurants profit off their customers being attached to their respected games, and with sports betting, this will automatically boost them both digital and retail.

FanDuel at their headquarters in Meadowlands have their own bar, the Victory Sports Bar in East Rutherford, where fans bet at their kiosks and watch their live sports while enjoying food and beverages. It is a sports fan dream to sit down at a bar and restaurant, order tons of food and drinks so they can watch their team dominate on the field. At the same time, they can put in a wager and bet on their respective team’s outcome or point spread. This is a revolutionary idea that is just the beginning for the restaurant industry as well as the American sports betting culture.

As of September 2019, Buffalo Wild Wings and BetMGM have collaborated with each other in a multiyear deal to shift the American sports betting culture. What BetMGM and Buffalo Wild Wings have done is appear odds and point spreads on the screen at select restaurants in the nineteen states and the District of Columbia that have passed sports betting laws. However, this is just the start of something big happening all over the United States, especially in New Jersey. Both MGM and Buffalo Wild Wings had undergone a test program in New Jersey, giving customers inside respective Buffalo Wild Wings exclusive perks on their updates BetMGM app.

The bad side of this deal, there will be no in-person, over-the-counter betting kiosk in any Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants as well as seating arrangements will not be altered. Buffalo Wild Wings had no intentions on becoming a sportsbook, the restaurant chain partnered with BetMGM to bring a new experience to the sports fan. Overall, this was successful in the first months and continued to be until the pandemic. The fan experience at bars and restaurants is what wants the sportsbooks to understand and digitally or in retail, they will be successful no matter what. But this is only the beginning.

After the multiyear deal between BetMGM and Buffalo Wild Wings, many restaurant chains and sportsbooks have been in the talks ever since the Assembly Bill was first passed. Betting kiosk, like the ones found in the FanDuel headquarters, as well as seeing betting odds and point spreads on the screen, like the multiyear deal with Buffalo Wild Wings and BetMGM, is what will make bars and restaurants boost their sales and revenue when creating deals with sportsbooks. At the same time, sportsbooks can use their geolocation to make sure fans are getting the experience they need whenever in bars and restaurants, giving the fans more deals, odds and point spreads on a regularly basis. The bar and restaurant industry will see a massive boost throughout the state of New Jersey with the help of sportsbooks. The Assembly Bill revived the casinos and horse-racing industry, the assembly bill and the help of sportsbooks can strengthen the bar and restaurant industry. And it does not look to be slowing down anytime soon when the world and sports returns to its regular scheduled program in the coming future.

Now, though, legalized sports betting is a strong added value to the state of New Jersey, creating revenue and bringing in billions of dollars. Over the last two years, places like Meadowlands Racetrack and Atlantic City have competed with Las Vegas for the potential new national destination to bet on events such as UFC Pay-Per-Views or the Super Bowl. Having New Jersey become the new national destination will not just drive up revenue in all sports betting and casinos, but also drive up revenue in the bars and restaurants within the state. Partnerships, just like BetMGM and Buffalo Wild Wings have done in 2019, will start become a norm with other restaurant chains and sportsbooks all over the state and the nation as well.

Legalized sports betting has revived the casino and horse-racing industries; it can do the exact same and even more for the bar and restaurant industry. At the same time, sports betting can create partnerships between the restaurant chains and sportsbook; displaying odds and point spreads on the screens while the games are going and creating betting kiosk, if approved, within the restaurant walls. The state of New Jersey has come a long way from successfully winning the court case that opened the door for sports betting to become legal across the country, including saving Atlantic City. Sports betting will boost the bar and restaurant industry, whether betting digitally or in person at a betting kiosk, as New Jersey again gets another thing right.

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