Sports betting, for New Yorkers, used to only happen in Vegas — and stay in Vegas.
Now, in the aftermath of a May decision by the Supreme Court to open a path for all states to legalize gambling on sports, it’s right across the Hudson River.
Being billed as “the go-to sports betting destination in the northeast,” according to a news release ahead of the July 14 grand opening, the FanDuel Sportsbook opened its doors earlier this month at the New Meadowlands Racetrack. The retail location exceeded its goal of $1,000,000 in bets during the first weekend, Meadowlands operator Jeff Gural told The Associated Press on Monday.
With New Jersey among the few states to have passed sports wagering legislation in the wake of the high court’s ruling — and New York betting regulations nowhere in sight — the FanDuel Sportsbook is as close as it gets for the Big Apple.
“It will always be the premier place for people from New York to go to bet,” Keith Wall, director of retail for FanDuel’s parent company Paddy Power Betfair, told amNewYork. “There won’t be one [sportsbook] in Manhattan. We will be the closest, and this will be the destination for people to come.”
New Yorkers are critical clientele for the sportsbook, located a few minutes walk from MetLife Stadium. However, mass transit options from the city remain limited at present. It’s accessible via NJ Transit from New York Penn Station by train only during major events or along the 160 bus line from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, according to an NJ Transit spokesman. The agency currently has no plans to expand its limited transportation options from Manhattan to The Meadowlands but will monitor and adjust as needed, the spokesman said.
Still, Wall said New Yorkers are a large part of their early success.
“A huge amount of our customers have come in from the city,” Wall said. “ . . . It’s right on the doorstep of Manhattan.”
With the Giants and Jets playing their home games adjacent to the track, Wall is confident the FanDuel Sportsbook will be a go-to spot on NFL Sundays. The location plans to have parties and “team days” during gamedays.
“This is going to be the place to be to watch and bet on pro football,” Wall said.
The sportsbook’s current setup is temporary while awaiting the finished spaces to open. The project, which will be housed in both the current sports bar space as well as a smaller sports lounge in the simulcast area of the racetrack, is on pace to be completed by the end of August, according to Wall. The simulcast section will be finished first, followed by the sports bar.
Wall said the Saturday opening was “the best start of any sportsbook so far in New Jersey, so we’re really happy.” He noted people were lined up in long queues before opening in the morning. He added the weekend featured special, customer-friendly prices on the Yankees’ games against the Cleveland Indians. The sportsbook will continually run these type of specials during the first few months and beyond, he said.
“We’ll constantly give value back to the customers,” Wall said.
The sportsbook will make a greater marketing push into the city as it readies the release of its sports wagering app, planned to launch ahead of football season. The app will work anywhere in New Jersey.