“Stunning” was the word New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck used to describe NJ sports betting handle for September at a G2E panel in Las Vegas this past Tuesday. Well, turns out the Garden State’s chief gaming regulator was only modestly fabricating.
After an August that saw the state’s nascent sports betting industry handle $95.6 million and generate $9.18 million in revenue (calculated as handle minus payouts on winning wagers), September provided us with our first glimpse of what the market is capable of, taking in a staggering $183.9 million in handle and $23.9 million in revenue. Year-to-date revenue stands now at $40.5 million.
It was inevitable that the industry would see a massive surge in handle last month, as not only did it mark the beginning of NFL season, but it was the first full month that multiple online operators went live. And while the tidal wave may not have swelled as high as some projected, nearly doubling handle is nothing to scoff at.
DraftKings vs. FanDuel, round 2
Once again, it was the two giants of the daily fantasy sports world teaching casinos a thing or two about making it in the sports betting world.
On the online front, the Resorts Digital Gaming license, which currently consists of DraftKings Sportsbook and BetStars NJ, led the charge, taking in a cool $8.51 million in revenue. It is presumed that DraftKings accounted for most of this figure, as BetStars NJ only went live in a limited capacity mid-month, and has yet to launch its product for PC.
FanDuel online sportsbook (licensed under the Meadowlands) had quite the September as well. Despite only launching days ahead of the NFL kickoff, the operator clearly leveraged its enviable brand recognition effectively. This, combined with its competitive pricing, pages upon pages of betting options, and strong promotional rollout, resulted in online revenue of $2.85 million. Notably, FanDuel came up significantly short of DraftKings, despite the latter offering better lines.
FanDuel also excelled on the land-based front, with its Meadowlands-based book — located just a hop, skip, and jump away from MetLife Stadium —taking in $4.37 million in its third full month of operation. This was by far tops for a land-based book in New Jersey.
In total, the Resorts Digital Gaming license, combined with FanDuel’s land-based and online revenue, accounted for 65.6% of total industry revenue. And who said daily fantasy companies didn’t have a long-term plan?
- Play SugarHouse, which clued the industry in on how much sports betting has impacted its NJ online gambling operation earlier this week, impressed, generating $619k for the Golden Nugget license.
- New Jersey’s other big racetrack, Monmouth Park, brought in $2.14 million, up from a rather pedestrian $898k in August. This was good for third place overall among land-based facilities.
- Ocean Resort Casino, which opened its much-anticipated permanent sportsbook in early September, saw its revenue rise from $519.6k in August to $999.9k in September. This figure doesn’t include the $292.1k generated from online.
- Borgata sports betting underwhelmed early on, at least relative to what we would expect from Atlantic City’s most trafficked destination, but no longer. In September, revenue skyrocketed to $2.39 million at the land-based book, with online at playMGM accounting for an additional $121k.
- Sportsbooks, taxed at 8.5% (land-based) and 13% (online), reaped $2.6 million for the state.
On an interesting side note, in August, online handle accounted for just $21.7 million of industry handle, or 22.7%. Those numbers swelled to $104.9 million and a staggering 57% in September, solidifying what we all sort of assumed: At least where sports betting is concerned in New Jersey, online will be king.
Football leads the charge
In what probably amounts to the least surprising development of the month — well, perhaps behind all the money going behind the Lakers to win the NBA Championship — football (NFL and CFB) accounted for a Pac-Man sized chunk of the industry handle pie chart.
How much? Football revenue was $9.47 million in September, while handle was $88.6 million.
Here’s the year-to-date breakdown by completed events handle:
- Football: $94,458,479
- Baseball: $118,954,058
- Basketball: $4,854,321
- Parlay: $35,837,410
- Other: $74,237,346
There is strong reason to believe that handle will only surge again (although not by quite the same % increase) this month, as October marks that beautiful Venn diagram of all professional sports leagues in the U.S. overlapping. Football is in full mid-season swing, NHL teams dropped the puck officially on October 3, and the NBA season tips off Tuesday with the Boston Celtics taking on the Philadelphia 76ers. And while the hometown Yankees have been eliminated by the Red Sox, there are still two more rounds of MLB to be played.
Not to mention, it seems inevitable that we’ll see more online sportsbook launches very shortly, including one from Hard Rock Casino, which signed a letter of intent with Gaming Innovation Group to provide omni-channel sports betting services. And with existing operators continuing to find their stride, we may just be using the word “stunning” to describe NJ sports betting handle in October, and in every month up until March Madness.