New Jersey edges ever closer to $1bn in sports wagers during December

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New Jersey came tantalizingly close in December to becoming the first state to accept $1bn in sports bets in a single month, and in doing so extended a streak of record-setting months while reaching a record $6bn in wagers for the year.

The milestones were achieved while online casinos and poker set a new high, again helping to stem the millions in revenues losses by struggling Atlantic City casinos, according to PlayNJ, which offers news and analysis of the state’s gaming industry.

“A unique set of circumstances, most notably a once-a-century pandemic, sent online sports betting to these previously unfathomable highs,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com.

“The pandemic has had a diametrically opposite effect on New Jersey’s online and retail markets for both sports betting and casino games. But the growth of online betting was crucial in making up for at least some of the losses in revenue at Atlantic City casinos and certainly continue to steady the entire gaming industry.”

During December, New Jersey’s sportsbooks collected a record $996.3m in wagers, surpassing the record $931m bet in November and marking the fifth straight month the state has set an all-jurisdiction record. Since August, sportsbooks have amassed $4.1bn in bets.

December’s bets generated a record $66.4m in revenue, while year-on-year handle was up 78.6% from the $557.8m bet in December 2019 and revenue was up 125.6% from $29.4m in December 2019. December’s bets produced $8.3m in state taxes.

Reviewing 2020 in the round, New Jersey’s retail and online sportsbooks produced $6.02bn in bets, a record for any legal jurisdiction despite major US sports being shut down for four months and up 31.3% from $4.6bn in 2019.

In the 12 months it generated $5.5bn in online wagering, up 44.2% from $3.8bn in 2019. Operator revenue came in at $398.5m, up 33.1% from $299.3m in 2019, while state and local taxes reached $50.1m and $15m respectively.

“Even when post-pandemic life returns to normal, online sports betting won’t likely give up its gains from this year,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “The silver lining for the industry was that this year was an opportunity for online operators to focus heavily on their products and build their customer base, using a combination of technology improvements and aggressive promotions. That has matured the market far more quickly than was projected.”

Online betting generated 93.3%, or $929.3m, of the state’s total handle in December, down from 93.6% in November. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped online operators with $29m in gross revenue, up from $21.2m in November.

FanDuel was followed in revenue by:

  • Resorts Digital/DraftKings/Fox Bet ($15.4m, up from $14.6m in November)
  • BetMGM/Borgata ($6.3m, up from $1.3m)
  • Monmouth/William Hill/Sugarhouse/TheScore ($3.3m, up from $1.9m)
  • Ocean Casino/William Hill ($3.2m, down from $3.6m)
  • Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($562,188, up from $363,099)
  • Caesars Sportsbook/888sport ($489,141, up from $247,615)
  • Golden Nugget/BetAmerica ($343,849, up from $199,667)
  • Tropicana/William Hill ($108,427, up from $105,028)

Retail sportsbooks generated $67m in bets, down from $75.9m in December 2019. Meadowlands/FanDuel topped retail books in December with $4.2m in revenue. For the year, retail books generated $38.6m in revenue, down from $54.9m in 2019.

“The race for market share seems to be frozen in place,” Gouker said. “An expected launch of Penn National’s Barstool-branded sportsbook in 2021 could shake things up, but as of yet no operator has really eaten into the market share of FanDuel or DraftKings.”

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