Oscars Wagering Seen As Hit with New Jersey Bettors

Oscars Wagering Seen As Hit with New Jersey Bettors

New Jersey sports bettors’ affinity for wagering on games apparently applies to awards shows, also.

One day after the state’s sportsbook operators became the first in the United States to offer the Academy Awards as a legal wagering market, the first-time venture was deemed a success by one New Jersey vendor.

“It was a successful first year for Oscar’s betting and players told us they had a lot of fun,” Mattias Stetz, COO of Rush Street Gaming, which operates SugarHouse Online Casino & Sportsbook, told Gambling.com in an email. “We are happy to have given those, who aren’t necessarily sports fans, the chance to experience a new exciting way to watch a big event and have an extra reason to root for their favorites to win.”

According to Stetz, “Roma” was the most popular pick for “Best Picture” at SugarHouse, but the critically acclaimed NetFlix offering was upset in a divisive decision by third choice “Green Book.” “Black Panther” received the second-most betting volume in the category.

“There was also a lot of betting interest for Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s “A Star is Born”,” Stetz continued.

Anecdotally, wagering on the 91st edition of the Academy Awards expanded beyond typical sports betting demographics.

New Jersey Yielded to Popular Demand on Oscars

The New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement confirmed on Jan. 30 that it would allow vendors to accept wagers on the Oscars after receiving, it said in an email to them, multiple requests. Sportsbooks in the state, which began operation on June 14, were the first to open a market that their predecessors in Nevada covet.

Nevada Resort Association representative Scott Nielson during an October meeting of the Nevada Gaming Control Board for the opening of the Oscars market there. The state currently does not authorize wagering on events with so-called pre-determined outcomes, although sports awards, such as most valuable player, are playable in multiple sports.

“Things like MVP awards, the draft, draft position, the Heisman trophy, for example, those are some things that are on that list currently,” Nielson said in making the request, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “But the process for determining how that contest or other events are conducted and awarded is well-known and fairly well recognized, so the board would be comfortable creating a second list and that would be things like the Academy Awards, Emmys, Grammys, those types of things that we think might provide an interesting wager for some people.”

Former Wynn oddsmaker Johnny Avello, now director of operations at DraftKings Sportsbook, told the Badder Beats podcast that Nevada officials had been “opening it up a little bit more for us” in recent years.

FanDuel Reacts When 'The Favourite" Is Bet Into One

The volatility possible in a market based on a voting process became apparent on Sunday, the day of the ceremony, when FanDuel deactivated “Best Director” wagering after the odds spasmed from as high as 45-to-1 to 5-to-1 on Yorgos Lanthimos, of “The Favourite.”

FanDuel explained the decision over Twitter as being made “w/a flurry of similar bets coming in amongst many books.”

Alfonso Cuarón won the award for “Roma.”

In an odd twist, ratings for the Oscars rose slightly. Television executives have asserted, and brandished studies to support the assertion, that ratings for live events would be expected to increase when more persons were wagering on them.

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