N.J. Legalized Sports Betting. Will it Challenge Nevada? Help Horse Racing?

Exactly a year ago, Gov. Phil Murphy traveled to Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport and made history by placing the first legal sports bets in New Jersey.

He wagered $20 apiece on Germany winning the World Cup and the New Jersey Devils taking the Stanley Cup. Both bets were a bust.

But a year later, elected officials, industry leaders, and gaming experts say the Garden State’s years-long gamble to fight pro sports leagues — all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — to legalize sports betting has paid off big time.

On a national level, New Jersey’s successful court case opened the door for sports betting to become legal across the country.

On a local level, leaders say, it has helped provide a jolt to the state’s casinos and horse-racing industries, created hundreds of new jobs, provided the state with a bit more in tax revenue, and given New Yorkers a new reason to cross the Hudson River.

“I would characterize New Jersey as a success story and model for the rest of the country,” said Daniel Wallach, founder of Wallach Legal LLC, the first law firm in the country with a focus on sports betting.

Murphy took it a …