Digest: Legal sports betting set to begin Thursday in New Jersey

Legal sports betting set to begin in New Jersey

New Jersey, which led the movement that led to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning a ban on sports wagering, will begin accepting bets on Thursday. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is set to place the state’s first legal one, at 10:30 a.m. at Monmouth Park, a horse racing track in Oceanport. Thirty minutes later and about 70 miles to the south, Atlantic City’s Borgata casino will start taking sports bets.

New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement issued its regulations for sports betting providers Wednesday, clearing the last major obstacle for it to begin. The state won a U.S. Supreme Court case last month clearing the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting if they choose. Delaware already has began accepting wagers.

New Jersey will be part of an industry primed for tremendous growth, much of it taking place on smartphones, according to a panel of national gambling experts. Speaking Wednesday at the east Coast Gaming Congress at Harrah’s casino in Atlantic City, a panel of sports betting and technology company representatives predicted the fastest-growing segment of sports betting will be bets made on smartphones as games are being played.

While bettors always will want to bet on the outcome of a game before it begins, many also want to predict plays or developments within a game, the panelists said. So in addition to wagering on whether the Yankees would beat the Red Sox, many gamblers also would want to bet on whether Yankee Aaron Judge would hit a home run just as he arrives at the plate, or how many batters Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale will strike out in the next inning. Such betting is the main element of growth in the European sports betting market.

Mobile and in-play were absolutely made for each other,” said Lee Richardson, CEO of Spectrum Gaming Group, a gambling consulting firm near Atlantic City. “It’s what customers want to do.” (AP)

Basketball Hall of Famer Donovan dies • Anne Donovan, the Basketball Hall of Famer who won a national championship at Old Dominion, two Olympic gold medals as a player and another as a coach, died Wednesday of heart failure. She was 56. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995, was part of the inaugural class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999 and was inducted in the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015. The 6-foot-8 center became the first female coach and the youngest person (42) to win a title in the WNBA, guiding Seattle the a championship in 2004. She was a member of three Olympics teams as a player. The 1980 team did not go to Russia because of a boycott. The team won the gold in 1984 and ‘88, and she coached the winning 2008 team. (AP)

Golovkin-Alvarez rematch looms • An agreement has been reached for the much-hyped rematch of Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez for boxing’s middleweight title to take place on Sept. 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Times reported. Terms of the agreement weren’t announced. The fighters battled to a controversial draw in September, in a bout that many thought Golovkin had won. (From news services)

NCAA changes eligibility rule • College athletes no longer will need permission from their coach or school to transfer and receive financial aid from another school. The NCAA Division I Council approved the change effective Oct. 15. The council also decided that D-I football players will be allowed to play in up to four games in a season without losing a year of eligibility if they no longer play because of injuries “or other factors.” The transfer reform should provide more freedom for athletes to transfer when and where they want. The change will come with stricter tampering rules to help appease coaches who worry illegal recruiting could rise. (AP)

Ex-Illini QB George headed to Michigan • Former Illinois quarterback Jeff George Jr. announced he will transfer to Michigan as a graduate transfer. George, son of former Illini great and NFL quarterback Jeff George, struggled with ineffective passing during his two seasons in Champaign. He played in 11 games the last two seasons with nine starts and completed only 48 percent of his passes for 1,743 yards with 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. George, who is 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds, is likely to join the Wolverines in a walk-on role. They already expect a four-way battle among scholarship QBs Shea Patterson, Brandon Peters, Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton. (Chicago Tribune)

Bowl game in works for Wrigley Field • The Cubs have made significant progress toward the creation of a college football bowl game at Wrigley Field and are close to signing a title sponsor and media partner, according to sources. They hope to have an annual game beginning in the 2020 postseason. But a key facet has yet to be determined, and there’s a chance it would threaten the game: The Cubs want one of the higher-rated Big Ten teams rather than, say, the conference’s sixth- or seventh-place team. (Chicago Tribune)

Maryland football player dies • Jordan McNair, a University of Maryland offensive lineman who was hospitalized after an organized team workout two weeks ago, died Wednesday. He was 19. The school did not disclose the cause of death. (AP)

Federer prevails • Roger Federer rallied to beat Mischa Zverev 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 at the Stuttgart (Germany) Open tennis tournament in his first match in nearly three months He will face Guido Pella or Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the quarterfinals. (AP)

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