New Jersey sports bettors have 11 brick-and-mortar and 17 online/mobile sportsbooks available to them. They have no shortage of options in search of the best prices, best bonuses, or best interface when it comes to regulated sports betting, and at this point, it would be difficult for a new operator to make a splash in a market this competitive and this far along the path to maturity.
Difficult. But not impossible.
Barstool Sportsbook is live in one state — its website and app launched in Pennsylvania on Sept. 18, where it set records for downloads in its first days (not the same as funded accounts or wagering handle, of course). In partnership with Penn National Gaming, which operates 41 casinos in 19 states, the Barstool app will be expanding beyond Pennsylvania soon.
On Tuesday, Penn National raised nearly $1 billion through a stock sale with the stated purpose of accelerating the launch of Barstool in additional states.
Barring an unexpected twist, Barstool Sportsbook is coming to New Jersey. The question is when.
Michigan up first, New Jersey in next group
NJ Online Gambling asked Penn National Gaming Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations Eric Schippers that question, and he replied, “We don’t have a timeline for you yet on our planned New Jersey launch.” For what it’s worth, that response further confirms that NJ bettors will have the Barstool option eventually.
There have been reports of Michigan being next in line for Barstool, citing November as the target, but online wagering, though legalized in Michigan, has not launched yet. The state has late November in its crosshairs. So maybe December is a safer bet than November for a Barstool launch in Michigan.
Either way, the Garden State will then be part of a cluster of states in which Penn National is eyeing early-2021 debuts for the app, with Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and West Virginia also in that mix.
This past Friday, Freehold Raceway at last opened its Parx Sportsbook, becoming the 11th retail betting operator in Jersey. Each brick-and-mortar New Jersey site is allowed up to three online betting skins. Given that the retail book is branded with co-owner Greenwood Racing’s Parx name (the most profitable land-based casino in Pennsylvania), it’s reasonable to presume one of the online skins will go to Parx as well. That still leaves plenty of room for Barstool.
FanDuel, DraftKings … Barstool?
The competition for customers and betting dollars in New Jersey is fierce. In the record-setting sports betting month of August, the Meadowlands Racetrack, whose online skins include FanDuel and PointsBet, led the way with $21.2 million in sports revenue, followed by Resorts, whose online skins include DraftKings and FOX Bet, with $10 million.
As in many states, it’s FanDuel and DraftKings at the top, but the news this week of Caesars buying William Hill might help create a credible challenger. That deal won’t be completed until the second half of 2021, however. So if Barstool launches in NJ in early 2021, the market it’s entering will look much as it does now.
And it will look almost nothing like the brand-new market Barstool will be entering in Michigan. More than in any other state, Barstool Sportsbook will be playing catchup in New Jersey.
But the Garden State’s betting market is so enormous at this point — $668 million in handle in a month that didn’t even have NFL football — that even a small slice would be worth a lot to Penn National.
Subscribe to get the latest NJ online casino and sports betting news to your inbox.