You know the New Jersey sports betting market is getting close to “mature” when state regulators report that $748 million was wagered on sports in the state last month and that figure is met by most industry insiders with a shrug.
It’s a solid handle number — barely better than the $743 million bet in February that featured a Super Bowl. It’s not as high as March and its Madness, of course, at $859.6 million — and not even close to $958.7 million bet in January or to the U.S. record of $996.3 million wagered in December 2020.
Still, only one-third of the way through the calendar, it adds up to $3.31 billion in bets so far in 2021. And with a football season still to come, New Jersey has a real chance at reaching the $10 billion mark in handle in only its third full year of operation.
The latest filing by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement fittingly came on the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). That opened the door for any state to offer Las Vegas-style sports betting — and in a relatively short window of time, New Jersey and two dozen others have done so.
Big M still the big player
On the operator front, the Meadowlands Racetrack and its team of FanDuel and PointsBet vie each month to claim more than half of the total sports betting revenue — and they pulled that off in April. Meadowlands and its online skins took in $29.1 million of the $54.8 million total, with Resorts, powered by its partnership with industry behemoth DraftKings, producing $12 million more.
Borgata/BetMGM ($6.7 million), Monmouth Park/William Hill ($32.4 million), Ocean/William Hill/Tipico ($1.9 million) and Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($1.5 million) were the other casinos or racetracks to clear $1 million.
Mobile sports betting handle accounted for 91% of the total — a typical number at this stage. Operator hold was 7.3%, compared to 7.4% on the year. That includes just a 3.5% loss for basketball bettors so far in 2021, but parlay bettors — the biggest dreamers — have fallen 18.8% short of breaking even this year.
$100M or bust for monthly online casino revenue
Online casino operators can expect more and more competition from traditional brick-and-mortar casinos in Atlantic City this year, as the easing of pandemic-related restrictions goes hand-in-hand with the warming of temperatures at the Atlantic Ocean-front municipality.
Will that lead to a dip in monthly online casino operator revenue to under $100 million? That mark was reached for a third time in four months in April 2021, with casino properties not yet showing a noticeable uptick in monthly dollars kept.
The record of $103.8 million in January held through a 28-day February ($93.8 million), but March toppled that number at $113.7 million. April came pretty close, at $107.7 million.
At this rate, New Jersey is on its way to becoming the first state where online casino operators collect $1 billion over the course of a calendar year.
It’s hard to remember now, but those New Jersey operators didn’t even team for $50 million for the first time until January 2020.
Online poker continues to recede toward pre-pandemic levels, with $2.4 million in revenue in April — compared to $5.1 million in April 2020, when there wasn’t much in the way of sports to bet on and countless New Jerseyans were stuck at home seeking out entertainment.
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