New Jersey becomes first state to earn over $900m in sports betting handle

November saw New Jersey become the first state in history to post a legal sports betting handle of more than $900m, placing the first $1bn month clearly in its sights, according to analysts for PlayNJ.

Sportsbooks in the Garden State generated $931m in wagers in November, breaking the previous record of $803.1m set in October and marking the fourth consecutive month the state has set an all-jurisdiction record for handle. November’s bets produced $6.2m in state taxes on $50.6m in revenue, falling short of the record $58.5m in gross operator revenue set just last month.

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com, commented: “Even if New Jersey can’t quite reach $1bn in a month before the end of the NFL season, the mere possibility so soon after the industry launched in 2018 would have been close to inconceivable until just a few months ago.

“The restart of the US sports world after the shutdowns of spring and early summer has fueled online sports betting in ways that would have been hard to predict before this year.”

The year-on-year growth has been striking for what is now the nation’s largest sports betting market. November’s handle rose 65.6% from $562.7m in November 2019, which was then a state record. And revenue was up 53.7% over $32.9m in November 2019.

Last month’s growth came with a sports schedule that was lighter than a typical November. The NFL remained the largest draw, helping football to attract a record $433.3m in bets, which was up from $278.9m in October. But in what is typically one of the busiest months in sports betting, only a sliver of the college basketball season was played, and the NHL and NBA laid dormant.

At $221.5m, the second-largest share of November’s handle on completed events actually belonged to sports categorized as “other” than football, basketball, or baseball. And that’s without a single puck dropping in the NHL.

“When the traditional major betting sports went quiet, most of the major online sportsbooks were really good at engaging their customers with an array of offerings, from golf to table tennis,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “What is surprising is that those efforts continue to pay dividends even as the major sports have returned.”

Online betting generated 93.6%, or $872.1m, of the state’s total handle, which was up from 92.6% in October. As it has consistently, FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped online operators with $21.2m in gross revenue, up from $29.3m in October.

Retail sportsbooks, which have managed to remain open with restrictions, generated $59.5m in bets, up from $59.2m in October. Meadowlands/FanDuel topped retail books with $3.6m in revenue.

“As good as the online market has been, Atlantic City has been hit hard this year by the pandemic,” Gouker said. “The state’s growth overall over the last few months is almost entirely the product of online sportsbooks. That will continue for the foreseeable future.”

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