The goal: Make NJCU into national leader in sports wagering, fintech

EDA providing $200K in funding to create Sports Wagering and Financial Technology Innovation Center in Jersey City

New Jersey led the way to legalizing sports betting throughout the country when it won a landmark case in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is working to help the state maintain that advantage.

The EDA’s board recently approved a memorandum of understanding with New Jersey City University to create a Sports Wagering and Financial Technology Workforce Development and Innovation Center.

Under the terms of the MOU, the EDA will provide $200,000 in funding and staff resources to support technological and product innovation, as well as workforce development, at the center. The support is intended to bolster the center’s goals of providing an incubator for the sports wagering and fintech industries and acting as a connector between industry, academia and relevant state agencies.

EDA CEO Tim Sullivan feels the state has unique attributes that make it ideal to be a hub for both online sports wagering technology and fintech.

“New Jersey offers a highly educated and talented technical workforce with proximity and connectivity to New York City and Philadelphia,” he said. “We also have world-class technical infrastructure such as broadband and fiber-optic connectivity, and the regulatory leadership of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement that recognizes the importance of innovation, collaboration and competition for a healthy and sustainably-growing industry.”

In the three years since legalizing sports betting, New Jersey has become one of the largest sports wagering markets in the United States, routinely surpassing Nevada in monthly handle, with nearly $1 billion per month wagered toward the end of 2020.

Moreover, New Jersey leads the country in customer adoption of mobile and online sports wagering. And with over 90% of wagers in the state placed online or via mobile platforms, New Jersey has positioned itself as the optimal jurisdiction for scaling tech-centric product innovations within this industry.

NJCU President Sue Henderson said the center fits perfectly with the school’s mission and vision.

“We are so excited and honored to partner with NJEDA to establish this new center for sports wagering and financial technology,” she said. “NJCU has long been an academic innovator for launching new programs in emerging fields. This is a wonderful opportunity to build upon our expertise in sports management, financial technology and data analytics to put our students and our state at the forefront of this exciting new field.”

In addition to the MOU with New Jersey City University, the NJEDA concurrently approved a separate agreement with Stockton University to support the establishment of an esports Innovation Center at the university’s Atlantic City campus, which is expected to contribute to establishing Atlantic City as a hub for the rapidly growing esports industry.