New Jersey Sportsbooks Can’t Match Last Football Season’s Heady Figures

September's handle fell short of last year's billion-dollar months

In September 2021, New Jersey made national news as the first U.S. state ever to record $1 billion in sports betting wagers — known in the industry as “handle.”

Then it happened again in October. And again in November. And again in December. And in January 2022, a record $1.35 billion was gambled on sports in the Garden State.

But seeing that the September 2022 handle slipped to $866.7 million, according to figures posted by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement on Monday, it may not be a stretch to describe last football season as “Glory Days” for the state’s sports betting industry.

While New Jersey was setting perhaps its final record ever for handle in January 2022, neighboring New York state was finally rolling out its own mobile sports betting options for its residents.

No more needing to take a bridge, a tunnel, a bus, a bicycle, a walk, or a PATH train to cross the Hudson River to make legal bets in New Jersey. And with that overdue accomplishment now in place, New Jersey’s days as a “Billion Dollar Baby” may be over.

Sportsbooks cleaned up in September

While the media and sports betting industry followers tend to focus on the amount of money wagered, sportsbook operators are more interested in their “hold” — the amount of money retained from losing bettors.

And on that front, September was glorious. The hold of $98 million — or 11.3%, nearly twice as high as usual — was well ahead of last September’s $82.4 million in spite of a $1.011 billion handle in that month. When January 2022 produced a record $1.35 billion handle, revenue amounted to a relatively paltry $60.2 million.

Last month’s revenue was nearly double the previous 2022 monthly average of $52.4 million.

While the Meadowlands Racetrack and its mobile betting partners — FanDuel, PointsBet, and Superbook — sometimes claim more than half of the total revenue, in September they fell a little short at $46.6 million.

Resorts casino, mainly fueled by industry giant DraftKings and also by FOX Bet, as usual took second at $22.4 million, and Borgata/BetMGM took third at $10 million. The other $1M combinations were those of Freehold Raceway/Barstool/Parx/PlayUp ($4.6 million); Monmouth Park/BetRivers/thescore ($2.7 million); Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($1.8 million); and Caesars/WynnBET ($1.5 million).

Harrah’s actually lost $82,967 at its brick-and-mortar sportsbook.

Borgata a sure thing every month

For the fourth consecutive month, the pecking order of gross gaming revenue at Atlantic City’s casinos remained identical.

That means Borgata, Hard Rock, Ocean in the top three slots; the three Caesars Entertainment properties — Tropicana, Harrah’s, Caesars — in the middle and close in numbers; and Resorts, Bally’s, and Golden Nugget on the bottom.

The top three finishers combined for $136.6 million in revenue, good for more than half of the industry’s $251.7 million total.

While it has a long way to go, Bally’s is continuing its revival. Its $15.9 million win for September was a 12.8% improvement from September 2021, far outpacing the industry’s modest 1.3% growth comparing those two months.

The big loser? Harrah’s, which was down 15.5% to $23.2 million.

The biggest winner? Maybe state taxpayers, who in 2022 have raked in more from online casino gaming ($182.8 million) than from brick-and-mortar gamblers ($138.4 million). That’s due to a 15% tax for online casino vs. only 8% at the casinos on the Boardwalk and in the Marina District.

Mobile sports betting accounts for another $63.2 million in tax dollars, while the modest number of sports bettors who still make a wager in casinos and state racetracks contributed an additional $3 million.

By December, the state’s total tax collection from all this gambling should top the $500 million mark for the year.

Photo: Shutterstock


Related Posts