There's a silver lining during the coronavirus for sports bookies and online casino betting who neared a record $1 billion in legal gambling in November, analysts said.
Year-over-year growth in New Jersey has been striking for what is now the nation’s largest sports betting market.
New Jersey became the first state in history to post a sports betting wagers of more than $900 million, as the Garden State’s online and retail sportsbooks put the first $1 billion month clearly in their sights in November, according to analysts for PlayNJ.
“Even if New Jersey can’t quite reach $1 billion in a month before the end of the NFL season, the mere possibility so soon after the industry launched in 2018 would have been close to inconceivable until just a few months ago,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “The restart of the U.S. sports world after the shutdowns of spring and early summer has fueled online sports betting in ways that would have been hard to predict before this year.”
New Jersey’s sportsbooks generated $931 million in wagers in November, according to official data released Monday, breaking the previous record of $803.1 million set in October and marking the fourth consecutive month the state has set an all-jurisdiction record for handle.
November’s bets produced $6.2 million in state taxes on $50.6 million in revenue, falling short of the record $58.5 million in gross operator revenue set just last month.
November’s wagers rose 65.6% from $562.7 million in November 2019, which was then a state record. And revenue was up 53.7% over $32.9 million in November 2019.
Last month’s growth came with a sports schedule that was lighter than a typical, healthy November. Yes, the NFL remained the largest draw, helping football to attract a record $433.3 million in bets, which was up from $278.9 million in October. But in what is typically one of the busiest months in sports betting, only a sliver of the college basketball season was played, and the NHL and NBA laid dormant.
“When the traditional major betting sports went quiet, most of the major online sportsbooks were really good at engaging their customers with an array of offerings, from golf to table tennis,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “What is surprising is that those efforts continue to pay dividends even as the major sports have returned.”
Online betting generated 93.6%, or $872.1 million, of the state’s total wagers, which was up from 92.6% in October. As it has consistently, FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped online operators with $21.2 million in gross revenue, up from $29.3 million in October.
FanDuel was followed in revenue by:
- Resorts Digital/DraftKings/Fox Bet ($14.6 million, even with October)
- Ocean Casino/William Hill ($3.6 million, up from $3.2 million)
- Monmouth/William Hill/Sugarhouse/TheScore ($1.9 million, down from $3.1 million)
- BetMGM/Borgata ($1.3 million, down from $3.2 million)
- Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($363,099, down from $1.1 million)
- Caesars Sportsbook/888sport ($247,615, up from $395,548)
- Tropicana/William Hill ($105,028, down from $158,692)
- Golden Nugget/BetAmerica ($199,667, up from -$109,670)
- Retail sportsbooks, which have managed to remain open with restrictions, generated $59.5 million in bets, up from $59.2 million in October. Meadowlands/FanDuel topped retail books with $3.6 million in revenue.
“As good as the online market has been, Atlantic City has been hit hard this year by the pandemic,” Gouker said. “The state’s growth overall over the last few months is almost entirely the product of online sportsbooks. That will continue for the foreseeable future.”
There's been a golden lining for online casino and poker during COVID-19:
New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms fell short of its first $100 million revenue month with $91.8 million in November. That was off from the record $93.5 million set in October, but up 86.9% from $49.1 million in November 2019. November’s tally produced $13.8 million in state taxes.
Online casinos and poker have now generated $870.9 million in operator revenue this year, which has obliterated the former annual record while putting the industry just short of the pace to reach $1 billion for the year. The record-setting year has been a boon for the state, injecting a remarkable $130.8 million into state coffers through the first 11 months of the year.
“With Atlantic City casinos struggling to remain open during the pandemic, the tax revenue generated by online casino games in particular has never been more needed,” Ramsey said. “New Jersey’s online casinos are the envy of every state with legalized online gaming and a model for any state looking to pass legislation in the coming year."
Some other highlights from November’s PlayNJ.com report.
- The Golden Nugget topped all online casinos again with $26 million in November revenue, down from $28.6 million in October. Borgata continued to make gains on the market leader, hitting $23.4 million in November. Resorts Digital was third with $20.9 million.
- Online casinos and poker generated $3.06 million a day over the 30 days of November, up slightly from $3.01 million a day over 31 October days.
- Revenue from online casinos was $89.4 million, down from $90.9 million in October. Online poker produced $2.4 million, down from $2.5 million in October.
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