a contract with Nike,

  • The Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey took in nearly $3.5 million in sports bets during its first nine days of accepting such bets.

    And most of that came from two weekends that sandwiched a dead period for major professional sports caused by baseball's All-Star break <a title="Authentic DeSean Jackson Jersey" href="http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/desean-jackson-jersey">Authentic DeSean Jackson Jersey</a> , when there was little to bet on, with basketball and soccer World Cup over, and football and hockey months away from beginning their seasons.

    Meadowlands operator Jeff Gural told The Associated Press it accepted just under $3.5 million worth of sports bets since it began taking them on July 14.

    "We did OK," Gural said Monday. "Our goal the first weekend was to exceed $1million which we did. The next four days were quiet with nothing to bet on due to the All-Star break."

    This past Saturday, with baseball having resumed, the track took in over $650,000 <a title="Authentic Aaron Rodgers Jersey" href="http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/aaron-rodgers-jersey">Authentic Aaron Rodgers Jersey</a> , and additional bets on baseball and other sports came in on Sunday.

    Gural said he is pleased with the track's initial performance "despite the fact that we are not at full strength and only have 10 live tellers windows open."

    The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands will be expanded. It is located in East Rutherford, in the same sports complex six miles from New York City where the NFL's New York Giants and Jets play.

    So far, two tracks, the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park, and two Atlantic City casinos, the Borgata and Ocean Resort, offer sports betting in New Jersey. But many others have applied for permission to begin offering sports betting <a title="Authentic Justin Houston Jersey" href="http://www.kansascitychiefsteamonline.com/justin-houston-jersey">Authentic Justin Houston Jersey</a> , in person and online, before the start of the NFL season in September.

    Monmouth and the casinos reaped $16.4 million in the first two weeks of June.

    New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case on May 14 clearing the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting should they so desire. It began offering sports betting on June 14.

    The latest statistics on how much the casinos and tracks took in from sports betting will be released by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement on Aug. 14.

    Follow Wayne Parry at ://WayneParryAC

    Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills says he's encouraged by Nike's new endorsement deal with his friend and fellow activist Colin Kaepernick, and wishes the NFL would show similar support for their cause.

    Kaepernick, a leader of the movement against social injustice that has prompted player protests during the national anthem, is among the faces of Nike's 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.

    The sports apparel giant has unveiled its first TV ad in the campaign, narrated by Kaepernick and scheduled to air during major sporting events.

    "I'm really encouraged by it," Stills said Thursday. "Those are things that really brighten people's day in a time that there are not many things to be happy about."

    Stills began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 and has been vocal discussing racial inequality and other issues. The player protests have become a divisive topic of debate <a title="Womens Roquan Smith Jersey" href="http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/roquan-smith-jersey">Womens Roquan Smith Jersey</a> , and the NFL and players union still haven't said whether players will be punished this season if they choose to kneel or demonstrate during the anthem.

    "The NFL could've done a better job of controlling the narrative from the beginning," Stills said. "I think if the NFL did something like Nike did 鈥?some sort of campaign, explain this whole situation, have our backs, supporting us and our First Amendment right 鈥?then this thing would've gone in a whole different direction."

    Stills, who talks often with Kaepernick, said he senses increasing support for the protesters as their cause is better understood.

    Receiver Albert Wilson and defensive end Robert Quinn joined Stills in protesting before Dolphins games during the exhibition season <a title="Womens Christian McCaffrey Jersey" href="http://www.panthersfootballauthentic.com/christian-mccaffrey-jersey-authentic">Womens Christian McCaffrey Jersey</a> , and are expected to continue their protests at the team's season opener Sunday against Tennessee.

    Wilson, who has a contract with Nike, also applauded the company's deal with Kaepernick.

    "I think it's awesome they're stepping up and spreading awareness," Wilson said. "For somebody to be so big, you can't ask nothing for it. You can't do nothing but respect them."

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