Meadowlands Hosts Preseason NFL Game, Takes Sports Bets From Fans
Last night, August 9, 2018, the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants made history. Or, more aptly, they were part of history being made, as the Meadowlands – at MetLife Stadium – hosted a preseason NFL game while taking bets from spectators on the game’s premises. This is unprecedented in US professional sports, and it signifies a groundswell of change in the world of American sports consumption.
Of course, this preseason game between Cleveland and NY was important for other reasons, as well. The biggest takeaway from the matchup – from a sporting perspective – is that the Browns, who last year became only the second NFL team in history to go 0-16, seem to have made the right decision drafting Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma as the number-one overall pick.
Though small in stature, Mayfield has a big arm and good head on his shoulders, and he demonstrated both of these attributes by carving up the Giants’ second-team secondary with a 212-yard, 2-touchdown, 0-interception performance in three quarters of action. Though it’s only the preseason, the Browns’ 20-10 win over the hapless Giants is their first victory since last year’s preseason, where they went 4-0. But preseason or not, a win is a win, and with Mayfield looking just about ready for primetime, that’s the biggest win of all.
At least for the Browns, it is. For the rest of us, the real big win for the Browns-Giants matchup, however, belongs to the fans, because this contest is the first time in major American sports history that spectators at a game could actively bet on that game, in real-time, as it was being played right in front of them. This is thanks to the Meadowlands sportsbook, which opened just last month. Since the Giants – who hosted this preseason tilt – play at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex, this enabled fans and bettors alike the opportunity to use the Meadowlands FanDuel sportsbook during the game itself.
However, these bettors didn’t have to go to the sports betting lounge at the Meadowlands Racetrack to place their wagers, as the FanDuel sportsbook has an online, app-based component available to all customers on the premises. This app, which also has a web portal component and is accessible by iPhones and Android devices alike, enabled fans at the Browns-Giants matchup to simply use their mobiles to place their wagers, and action was accepted until about halfway through the fourth quarter (which is more or less standard for live betting in a preseason NFL game). Once the regular season gets underway, of course, there will be even more in-game options including props and “if” bets to enjoy, and live betting will last for the duration of every matchup.
It is important to note that, while the Meadowlands sportsbook is clearly online-capable and allows betting over the Internet, this currently only applies to those bettors who are actively on Meadowlands Sports Complex grounds. Though remote online betting is certainly in the works, right now the Meadowlands sportsbook is geo-fenced to its property’s borders.
In other words, for the time being, you won’t be able to wager from home using the Meadowlands sportsbook app. For that, you will have to use an offshore sportsbook option like BetOnline, 5Dimes, SportsBetting, or other top networks in the industry. Still, it’s only a matter of time before the Meadowlands FanDuel sportsbook offers statewide wagering (though that’s the limit, as federal law – namely the Wire Act – prevents state-based sports betting shops from accepting bets across state lines). Soon, with full-fledged mobile betting in New Jersey, Giants and Jets fans (and fans of visiting teams who play on the road at the Meadowlands each year) will be able to legally wager with the Meadowlands sportsbook from anywhere inside the state, any time they wish.
In Cleveland, with Baker Mayfield, the future is now. In New Jersey, with legal sports betting in New Jersey, the future is nower!
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