New Jersey Sportsbooks Sail To New Handle Record, But Fall Short Of Half-A-Billion

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The advent of the 2019-20 NFL Season is high time for sports betting fans, and the New Jersey sports betting handle figures for September, released today by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement, strongly reflect the fervor bettors have for wagering on football.

The industry, which is now 16 months old and inching closer and closer to maturity, illustrated just how far it’s come since last September, posting handle of $445.6 mm, compared to just $183.9 mm last year. The market also slid by its previous monthly record, set in January when the books collectively took in $385.3 mm in wagers.

Despite the new record, there were expectations that the industry could reach $500 mm in handle, thanks to the start of the NFL season, an increased number of books (including the rebranding of BetStars NJ to FOX Bet), and heavy marketing efforts.

Sports betting revenue for September clocked in at $37.9 mm, an impressive haul, but still short of the NJ online casino gambling industry, which managed $41.1 mm.

Online still stealing the show

Despite having a plentiful number of live sports betting options, bettors took to their mobile and personal computing devices to place their wagers, with online handle coming in at $374.2 mm compared to just $71.3 mm for land-based. That works out to 84% of handle originating online, which is consistent with how online books have been performing throughout 2019.

What’s interesting here, is that despite the number of land-based books remaining flat, and new online entities popping up in droves, online wagering is not increasing its market share. While this month could be an anomaly due to pleasant September weather and the beginning of NFL, there’s an impression that the online market has been saturated to the point where new books aren’t having that much of an impact.

Two licensees dominate

Once again, it was the Meadowlands was the market share leader in sports betting revenue, with the duo of FanDuel Sportsbook and PointsBet pulling in $13.3 mm in revenue. Combine this with the $3.64 mm made by the retail FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands Racetrack, and we’re talking $16.93 mm, or nearly 45% of total industry revenue.

Way back in second place was the trio of DraftKings online sportsbook, FOX Bet, and Resorts Casino (all housed under the Resorts Digital Gaming license). They combined for $10.7 mm in online revenue, with the DK land-based book at Resorts pulling in an additional $340k. Resorts Digital increased its market share slightly, up from 26.6% to 28.2%, which is likely due to the FOX Bet rebrand and subsequent marketing push. Still, considering the heavy weight of the FOX Sports brand, a slight uptick, that could just be the result of normal fluctuations, probably has Resorts feeling a bit disappointed.

Other notables

  • Ocean Casino, which is known for having one of the nicest sportsbooks on the Atlantic City boardwalk, pulled in $1.8 mm in retail revenue, which was the more than the William Hill-powered book did online ($1.3 mm)
  • Bally’s is the dubious owner of the best sportsbook that no one goes to, with revenue of just $241k in September.
  • Borgata’s new Moneyline Bar wasn’t a moneymaker for Atlantic City’s premier resort, taking in just $756k in revenue.
  • Hard Rock’s sports betting efforts have been a hard flop, with online and retail sports betting revenue combined barely eclipsing $400k.
  • Darby Development (Monmouth Park) continues to put up respectable numbers, showing $2.36 mm in online betting revenue (Play SugarHouse, William Hill, theScore), and nearly $1 mm in retail revenue.

Football handle tells the story

For September, completed events handle on football, which includes both NFL and college, was $188.6 mm. We do find this figure a tad disappointing, especially considering that total completed events handle for the month was more than $444.4 mm. Football didn’t even account for half of that figure.

However, the football number doesn’t account for parlays, of which there were $87.8 mm worth in September, and presumably a large percentage of that figure on football events.

Last year, NJ sports betting handle surged dramatically from September to October, but that was mostly due to a vast increase in the number of books and market awareness. We expect a much smaller uptick this time around, if any, as the market is much more steady than it was, and advertising burnout starts to settle in, much as it did in the heyday of daily fantasy sports sites a few years back.

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Robert is a veteran writer and analyst for the gambling industry, with a particular focus on the emergent US online gambling market. An avid poker and gambling enthusiast, Robert offers unique perspectives from both the vantage point of the player and industry professional, and is fit to cover a broad spectrum of topics.

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