Sports betting meets NFL season

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Football fans had their jerseys on and their wallets open as pro football season arrived in places where sports betting is newly legal.

New Jersey won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in May that clears the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting if they choose.

There was an hourlong wait in line to place bets at Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino as kickoff approached Sunday.

Chris Matthews of Clementon, New Jersey, put $50 each on the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, reasoning that all three have strong defenses. Their defense was good last year, even though they didn’t win a game, and they were on TV this preseason, and I think that has them fired up,” he said, referring to the HBO football themed series “Hard Knocks” that featured the Browns. Robert Stovall of Rahway, New Jersey, put $100 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Clad in a throwback Keyshawn Johnson jersey, he rattled off statistics and predictions for almost the entire Bucs roster in rationalizing a $100 bet on them to win despite being 10-point underdogs.

Phil Henderson of Mahwah, New Jersey, put $500 on the other side of that game, picking the New Orleans Saints to win. It was his first legal bet on football, and he said he likes doing so with a regulated casino better than with a bookie, whose offer of credit can easily get gamblers in over their heads.

Other states where sports betting is currently being offered include Nevada, Delaware, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

Sports betting took in $40.6 million in wagers in New Jersey in July, the first full month it was legal.

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