Several sportsbooks reportedly wanted to offer wagering on the annual event.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated June 24, 2019
Credit: SOPA Images/Getty Images

Not that long ago, if you wanted to legally bet on sports in America, you had to travel to Nevada. But around this time last year, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, New Jersey became one of the first states that isn’t home to Las Vegas to allow sports betting. And yet, though Jersey has given residents an option beyond their local bookie for the first time in generations, the state’s sportsbooks still have a point where they draw the line — like betting on the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Last week, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement decided not to allow sportsbooks to offer betting lines on the Fourth of July eating competition held each year in Coney Island, New York. Though some may chalk that up to an obvious decision — Who really wants to wager on hot dog eating? — “several” Jersey sportsbooks were apparently interesting in taking action, according to Meanwhile, other online sites are happily offering Major League Eating fans a chance to wager on the event. The gaming site found that 11-time winner Joey Chestnut is a huge favorite to win for the fourth year in a row: His odds are currently at -900, meaning a $10 bet returns just $1.11 in profit.

And that’s not all. “Sportsbooks are also offering up a smorgasbord of proposition bets on the Nathan’s event,” continues. “They include the total number of dogs consumed by the men’s winner, with 73.5 being the over/under. Chestnut ate 74 hot dogs last July 4, which set a new world record… Five-time defending female champ Miki Sudo is the women’s favorite. She’s at a hungry -1000 for the championship.”

Betting on not-entirely-sports-events isn’t unprecedented in New Jersey. The state allowed betting on the Oscars earlier this year. That said, maybe Jersey would have rethought things if the Academy Awards were held on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island. Just sayin’ is all.