NJ Sports Bettors Break Another Record in November — When Will They Reach $1 Billion?

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New Jersey bettors (and some visitors, especially from New York) wagered a record $931.6 million at the state’s mobile sportsbooks as well as Atlantic City casinos and state racetracks in November, crushing the national record set a month earlier by nearly $130 million.

Operators, however, settled for almost $7 million less in joint sports betting revenue compared to the previous month, producing a hold of $50.6 million on that record handle — the third highest hold in New Jersey history, behind October and January 2020. Total NJ online casino revenue, at $91.8 million, was a mere second-best ever to October’s slightly higher figure.

But the race toward $1 billion in handle in a single month will make national headlines — and no doubt be circulated among lawmakers in more than a dozen states actively considering legalizing Las Vegas-style sports gambling.

Those lawmakers should know, however, that the Garden State netted only $6.2 million in taxes from sports betting for the month. It’s not nothing, but the consumer protection benefits from legal regulated, sports betting as well as additional opportunities to aid compulsive gamblers who bet on mobile devices are at least as important.

For elected officials who prefer brick-and-mortar-only betting, they should know New Jersey collected just over a half-million in taxes from $59.5 million wagered at the racetracks and casinos. The other $5.7 million in taxes came from the whopping $872.1 million bet on the nearly two dozen sports betting apps and websites. That means an astounding 93.6% of the bets came from online sportsbooks. That boosted the 2020 year-to-date figure to 91.6%.

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Meadowlands remains ‘The Big M’ in NJ sports betting

Nearly half — $24.8 million — of the industry’s gross revenue was generated by the Meadowlands Racetrack and its mobile sportsbook partners FanDuel and PointsBet. Resorts Digital — turbocharged by DraftKings‘ mobile sports betting strength — claimed another $14.6 million.

Ocean Casino was next at $3.6 million, a bit ahead of Monmouth Park Racetrack — which is a partner with William Hill — at $3.1 million. The only other operator in “The Millionaire’s Club” for November sports betting revenue was Borgata casino at $2.2 million.

In its second month of operation, the state’s other racetrack — Freehold Raceway — checked in at a modest $143,989 in purely brick-and-mortar gross sports betting revenue.

The path of the state’s monthly sports betting handle would provide a striking graphic:

The tallies were $540.1 million in January and $494.8 million in February, with March Madness seemingly around the corner. But COVID-19 torpedoed that event and bisected the betting month, leading to just $181.9 million in March revenue. Then came the nadir of $54.6 million in April as Ukrainian table tennis and Belarusian soccer only held so much wagering appeal.

May and June provided modest encouragement at $117.8 million and $165 million, respectively, and July saw a healthy increase to $315.1 million.

Then, the deluge, as major sports returned in full force: $668 million in August, $748.6 million in September, $803.2 million in October, and now the state Division of Gaming Enforcement’s announcement of $931.6 million in November.

The operators’ hold on all this revenue in 2020 is at 6.5%, aided by a robust 14.5% hold on multi-event parlay wagers.

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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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