February was a rare down month for the now nearly one-year-old NJ sports wagering industry, with handle clocking in at just $320.4 mm, down from a record-breaking $385.3 mm in the month of January and just slightly ahead of the industry’s December tally.
Revenue also took a substantial hit, down from $18.8 mm in January to $12.7 mm last month.
These rather significant dropoffs feel like they should be alarm sounding, especially given the newness of the industry. But that’s hardly the case.
A Super disaster
The revenue dip is easily explained by bettors coming up roses on the biggest betting event of the calendar year: the Super Bowl. The industry lost a whopping $4.57 million on the game, in part due to the New England Patriots being public betting darlings, but also due to FanDuel Sportsbook offering 53/1 moneyline odds on both sides to new customers.
On the flip side, Super Bowl handle was genuinely disappointing, coming in at just $39.5 mm, compared to $145.9 mm for Nevada. This discrepancy should serve as a valuable lesson — and really a wake-up call — for NJ sportsbooks and the greater gaming industry, who must come to grips with the fact that Atlantic City isn’t nearly the destination market that Las Vegas is.
As for the rest?
Historically, Nevada handle has dropped 17.2% from January to February. The drop this year in New Jersey? 17%.
Avg drop in handle in NV from Jan to Feb over the last 10 years: 17.2%
Drop in handle in NJ from Jan to Feb in 2019: 17%
— Captain Jack Andrews (@capjack2000) March 13, 2019
With this and the disappointing Super Bowl performance in mind, it’s not a reach to say that New Jersey sports betting outperformed Nevada’s industry on all but one day of the month, relatively speaking.
Dips in February are expected, due to the month’s shorter duration and the fact that NBA games don’t run for a full week during the middle of the month. So far this year, basketball has accounted for $287.1 mm of the NJ industry’s $706 mm completed events handle (41%). Suffice it to say, a week without NBA betting is downright devastating to industry handle.
With the NBA playoff races heating up and, of course, March Madness in full swing, expect March handle to reach new heights in New Jersey.
Online increases its foothold
According to NJ DGE figures, online wagering accounted for $258.9 mm of industry handle, or an eye-watering 80.8%. To date, there hasn’t been a single month where online wagering didn’t increase its dominance, shooting up from 72.1% in November, to 75.5% in December, and 79.2% in January, before tipping over 80% last month.
Retail outlets had a much rougher go of it, with handle decreasing from $80.3 mm in January to just $61.5 mm. Atlantic City books got particularly hammered, with Bally’s, the Borgata, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s, Ocean Resort, and Tropicana all incurring revenue losses. The Borgata’s reported revenue of -$715.7k was an industry worst. Monmouth Park retail wasn’t too far behind at -$501.9k in revenue, but at least it performed solidly online ($1.27 mm).
On the online side, it was sportsbooks licensed under the Meadowlands (FanDuel Sportsbook and newcomer PointsBet Sportsbook) that really flexed their muscles. The Meadowlands reported $6.59 mm in online revenue, which is more than half of total industry revenue (presumably most of this was generated by FanDuel). The retail book at the Meadowlands didn’t fare too shabbily either, pulling in an industry-best $1.5 mm in revenue.
Second place belonged to DraftKings, which saw its retail book at Resorts AC inch into positive terrain at $142.9k, and its online book generate a large portion of the $3.72 mm reported by Resorts Digital (BetStars NJ is also on the Resorts Digital license).
However impressive the DraftKings Sportsbook figures are, it’s becoming clearer with each passing month that FanDuel and The Meadowlands are the kings of sports betting in New Jersey.
One last note: Total YTD completed events win percentage for 2019 is about what one would expect it to be: 5.1%. Full breakdown as follows: