NJ Sports Betting Handle Sets Another Record In October, Clearing $800M

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“Do I hear ONE BILLION DOLLARS?”

Not just yet, when it comes to the amount of money legally wagered on sports in one month in New Jersey.

But current trends suggest it will happen eventually.

According to figures released Friday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, a record $803.1 million was bet on sporting events in October, breaking the record of $748.6 million that had been set in September.

That figure topped $668 million in August, the first month when the NBA, NHL, and MLB all got into action. July handle had been about half  that ($315.1 million), which in turn had doubled June’s $165 million.

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The monthly handle hit bottom in April, with just $54.6 million wagered on various foreign soccer and table tennis matches and a smattering of MMA or boxing events.

A look back — and a look ahead

Throughout 2020, $4.1 billion has been wagered legally in New Jersey with two months to go.

November is headed back down, alas, with no MLB, NBA or NHL, but with this week’s edition of The Masters PGA Tour event sure to provide a modest brake on the downward slide. December offers the first week of the NBA’s 2020-21 regular season, but it, too, will fall far short of early fall’s dizzying heights.

The industry’s $58.5 million in October gross gaming revenue, or “hold,” easily topped September’s $45.1 million. The sportsbooks’ hold of 7.3% of dollars wagered in the month is 1 percentage point above the year-to-date hold.

Parlay betting, with bettors needing to get a series of correct selections right to win what can be large sums, has accounted for 43% of casino sports betting revenue in 2020.

Online casino also breaks a record

After five months of being “stuck” in a zone of online casino revenues always coming in between $80 million and $89 million, October broke loose with a $93.5 million haul for the casinos.

That figure was mostly split three ways among Golden Nugget, Borgata, and Resorts Digital, which is a partnership between Resorts and DraftKings, which has been successful in migrating sports bettors and daily fantasy sports players over to its online casino product.

Online poker accounted for just $2.5 million in October for the casinos, but that was more than a 50% increase over October 2019.

Brick-and-mortar casino revenue held up about as well as could be expected last month, with the $186.1 million collected by the casinos down just 8% from the same month in 2019.

Ocean Casino Resort was up by more than one-third, to $25.2 million, propelling the Boardwalk property to third in the city’s rankings behind market leader Borgata ($41.2 million) and fellow 2 1/2-year-old property Hard Rock ($28.8 million).

Hard Rock was the only other property to achieve a boost over October 2019. For Ocean, it marks a 12th consecutive month of year-over-year growth.

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John Brennan

John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record.

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