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September 19, 2019

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New Jersey gov: We could be top U.S. sports bet market by 2020

New Jersey Sports Betting

Julio Cortez / AP

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy addresses an audience at the Betting On Sports America conference, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Secaucus, N.J. Murphy predicted New Jersey’s fast growing sports betting market could surpass that of Nevada by next year.

SECAUCUS, N.J. — New Jersey's governor says his state could be the top sports betting market in the nation as soon as next year.

Speaking Wednesday at the Betting On Sports America conference, Democrat Phil Murphy predicted New Jersey's fast growing sports betting market could surpass that of Nevada by next year.

In the 10 months that New Jersey has allowed legal sports betting, gamblers have wagered more than $2.3 billion, a pace that would put it in the same conversation as Nevada, which took in more than $5 billion in bets last year.

"Nevada is clearly in our sights," Murphy said. "We can overtake it as early as next year."

New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case last year that cleared the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting should they so choose. Eight currently do, with many more considering it.

Gambling analyst Chris Grove of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, says it's possible that New Jersey could become the top market next year due to a number of advantages.

"New Jersey's population advantage, drive-in traffic from New York, and superior mobile sports betting product are the primary forces driving New Jersey ahead of Nevada," he said. "It's not a guarantee, but it's certainly plausible."

New Jersey has nearly 9 million residents, about three times that of Nevada, where gambling is a tourist-driven industry.

Jim Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said the trends make the shift possible.

"It would mean bragging rights, not just for the country but for the whole world in terms of making this the place people in this industry want to be," he said.