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New Jersey nears $1B in sports betting action; 2 more Pennsylvania casinos start taking bets

New Jersey is nearing $1 billion in sports betting action in less than 6 months.

Figures released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show New Jersey’s casino and racetrack-based sports books took in over $330 million worth of bets in November.

Since sports betting began in mid-June, gamblers in the state have plunked down $928 million on sports events.

Jeff Gural, who runs the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, near New York City, isn’t surprised at how quickly the market is growing.

“I was there Sunday, and the place was packed,” he said. “So many of those games went right down to the last minute. It was really exciting.”

He expects the track’s sports book will do even better once self-serve betting kiosks are installed around New Year’s Day to increase the number of betting portals.

Two more casinos in Pennsylvania have started test periods for sports betting.

Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia are beginning test periods today.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board says that, if all goes well, the casinos can start regular sports-betting hours on Saturday.

Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Dauphin County, opened its sports book last month, making the commonwealth one of seven states where it’s allowed.

The NBA has partnered with an online sportsbook.

On Tuesday, the NBA announced a multiyear partnership with international gaming operator The Stars Group, which runs the BetStars online sportsbook in New Jersey and also is going through the sports betting licensing process in Pennsylvania.

The deal will make The Stars Group an authorized gaming operator of the NBA in the U.S. The company will have the right to use official NBA betting data and league marks and logos across digital sports betting offerings.

The NBA will promote The Stars Group across the league’s digital assets, including NBA TV,, the NBA App and NBA social media platforms. In turn, The Stars Group will promote the NBA across its gaming platforms, including popular online poker site PokerStars.

“This dynamic partnership will be another way to create authentic fan engagement with league logos and official NBA betting data, while leveraging Stars’ global expertise to further optimize the fan experience,” Scott Kaufman-Ross, head of fantasy & gaming for NBA, said in a release announcing the deal.

The partnership is the NBA’s second with a gaming operator in the U.S. sports betting market, following a Supreme Court ruling in May that opened a path for states to authorize legal sportsbooks. This summer, the NBA announced MGM Resorts International as the official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA. The NBA logo now hangs in the sportsbook at the Borgata, an MGM property in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is once again the favorite to win the NFL MVP award.

Mahomes, 23, is now listed at minus-155 to win the award, and he has supplanted New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees as the betting favorite this week at both DraftKings and William Hill U.K.

Brees, now at plus-135, had become the favorite during the Saints’ 10-game win streak.

“Mahomes [was] 66-to-1 and is now -155. That’ll tell you something right there,” DraftKings director of sportsbook operations Johnny Avello told ESPN’s Doug Kezirian, adding that Mahomes presents the largest liability to the house. “You have to look at what [opponents] he has, moving forward. Chargers. Seahawks. Raiders. It looks like he should be able to add to the stats.”

Mahomes leads the NFL in passing yards (4,300) and passing touchdowns (43), and is poised to become the NFL’s youngest MVP since 23-year-old Dan Marino in 1984. Typically, established stars win this award, and the 39-year-old Brees is still very much in the race, especially given he has never hoisted the MVP trophy.

“Brees’ stats are really good,” Avello said. “This is voted on, so could be some sentimental reasons in here for Brees.”

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Each Friday, we’ll comb through as many articles, tweets and podcasts as we can find related to the world of sports betting and daily fantasy sports, and publish the good stuff here. 

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