March Madness Leads To Margin Madness At New Jersey Sportsbooks

March Madness propelled the NJ sports betting industry to record breaking revenue in March, driven largely by the Meadowlands and online.
revenue growth

Despite tons of promotions aimed at trimming the house edge, it was a stellar March for the sportsbooks in New Jersey, who according to a recent press release unveiled by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, generated a record $31.6 mm in revenue.

As expected, basketball revenue stole the show, accounting for $14.4 mm in completed-events revenue, and presumably a large chunk of the $10.5 mm completed-event revenue accounted for by parlays. Basketball also accounted for roughly $205.8 mm of the industry’s near record-breaking $372.4 mm in handle for the March, fueled by the early rounds on March Madness.

For the year, basketball win percentage is up to 5.1%, up from a year-to-date mark of 3.7% in February.

Looks like we weren’t the only ones to drop a futures bet on Duke to win it all.

There’s the Meadowlands, and there’s the rest

Supported by a premier retail location, strong branding, and two best in class online books, it’s really little wonder why the Meadowlands continues to widen the gap in the NJ sports betting market.

In March, the horse track generated an eye-watering $17.6 mm in revenue, or more than 55% of total industry revenue. Of that tally, $13.3 mm was generated by the license holder’s two online sites, FanDuel Sportsbook, and up-and-comer PointsBet Sportsbet. Unfortunately, we do not know the exact split, but smart money is on FanDuel accounting for the lion’s share of revenue.

FanDuel was quick to pounce on the good news, releasing a presser stating: “The FanDuel Sportsbook continues to be the top operator in the New Jersey market both in mobile and retail. There was incredible excitement for March Madness, noted by record-breaking revenue numbers for the FanDuel Sportsbook, which had the biggest revenue month for any operator since the launch of legalized sports betting in New Jersey last June.”

The FanDuel-branded retail outlet at the Meadowlands Racetrack was no slouch either, taking in $4.27 mm in revenue, tops among brick-and-mortar sports betting venues in New Jersey by a wide margin.

In second place was Resorts, which is fueled by retail and online-branded operations by DraftKings. The online arm (Resorts Digital) generated $7.28 mm in revenue, a healthy number but more distanced than the Meadowlands’ final count than ever before. A DraftKings branded book at Resorts did next to no revenue ($85.1k)

Other notable numbers:

  • Monmouth Park has another solid month, with $986k in land-based revenue, and another $1.67 mm coming from online (William Hill/Play SugarHouse)
  • Ocean Resort Casino, or Ocean Casino Resort (whatever we’re calling it these days) also had passing marks for the month, with a decent $541k in retail revenue, and $1.42 mm in online tallies (William Hill).
  • Other Atlantic City casinos continued to let the daily fantasy sports giants steal the show, posting laughably meager numbers for their online verticals for what seems like the umpteenth month in a row. Lowlights include Borgata (playMGM) at $100k in revenue, Hard Rock Casino at $17k, and Tropicana at $21k
  • Well at least the Bally’s license had a rebound month, procuring $336k in online revenue (Caesars Casino & Sports), and $234k from its land-based sportsbook at the Wild Wild West casino.

Surprise! Online dominates again

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, online sports betting revenue once again stole the show, accounting for $298.3 mm of the industry’s $372.4 mm in handle. For all you math wizards out there, that works out to 80.1% of handle, a figure that we expect to grow even higher by the advent of the 2019-20 NFL Season.

The success of online sports betting in New Jersey makes it all the more frustrating for industry folks and bettors alike that states like Indiana aren’t fully embracing the model. Instead, the norm in most states with pending legislation — and other states that have already legalized sports betting in some capacity, for that matter — is either retail sports betting only, or in-person mobile registration, which is only marginally better. We’re left scratching our heads as to why widespread mobile wagering isn’t the prevailing model, forced to chalk it up to legislative ignorance at this point.

On a sort of positive note, Pennsylvania does have widespread mobile built into its existing law, but is also encumbered by a number of mind-numbingly poor regulations that could hinder the industry. That, and 18 months after it passed sports betting legislation, it still hasn’t brought its online sites live, and won’t for at least another couple of months.

So we repeat: Full-fledged online sports betting is the only way to do it right. And states that really want to do it right will also incorporate online gambling into their model, as thanks in part to sports betting, online gambling in New Jersey is breaking records on a near monthly basis, with online casinos bringing in $37.2 mm in revenue — an uptick of 58% in year-over-year.


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