New Jersey sportsbooks took in more than $950 million in wagers and a record $82.6 million in revenue in January while the state’s online casinos crossed $100 million in revenue, becoming the first legal gaming jurisdiction in U.S. history to cross that threshold in a single month. The Garden State’s opening salvo to 2021 sets the stage for a year in which the state could reach $10 billion in sports wagers and more than $1 billion in online casino revenue, according to analysts from PlayNJ.
“New Jersey’s online casinos and sportsbooks have defied conventional wisdom from the beginning, and are hitting milestones that many thought would take years longer to reach,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “The rapid maturation of the online products in New Jersey has made the state the new standard bearer for the modern U.S. gaming industry.”
New Jersey’s sportsbooks fell short of breaking the all-jurisdiction handle record for the sixth consecutive month by collecting $958.7 million in wagers in January, according to official data released Wednesday. That is up 77.5% from $540.1 million in January 2020.
Operator revenue rose to $82.6 million in January, up 29% from $53.6 million in January 2020 and topping December’s record-breaking $66.4 million. And with $10.4 million in state taxes in January, sportsbooks have now generated $107.3 million for the state since launching in June 2018.
The brisk opening month builds momentum for what should be another leap forward this year. If the growth continues through the year, the state could reach nearly $10 billion in sports bets, more than $600 million in revenue, and $75 million in state and local taxes, according to PlayNJ projections.
“2020 was an unusual year, obviously, so year-over-year growth is a good bet so long as the sports schedule remains intact,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “Considering the current momentum of New Jersey’s market, the year could really bring some eye-popping results, especially if the retail market can return to health.”
Online betting generated 92.5%, or $886.7 million, of the state’s total handle in January. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet was again the market leader with $41.8 million in gross revenue, up from $29 million in December.
FanDuel was followed in revenue by:
- Resorts Digital/DraftKings/Fox Bet ($15.7 million, up from $15.4 million in December)
- BetMGM/Borgata ($7.9 million, up from $6.3 million)
- Ocean Casino/William Hill ($4.2 million, up from $3.2 million)
- Monmouth/William Hill/Sugarhouse/TheScore ($2.3 million, down from $3.3 million)
- Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($1.5 million, up from $562,188)
- Caesars Sportsbook/888sport ($375,129, down from $489,141)
- Golden Nugget/BetAmerica ($176,199, down from $343,849)
- Tropicana/William Hill ($76,933, down from $108,427)
Retail sportsbooks began to rebound with $72.1 million in bets, up from $67 million in December. Meadowlands/FanDuel topped retail books in January with $5 million in revenue.
Predictably, the NFL playoffs — which featured an expanded format this year — attracted heavy action, fueling $201.8 million in football wagering in January. But college basketball and the NBA, which enjoyed its first full month of its season, placed basketball first with $320.3 million. And sports categorized as “other,” which includes NHL betting, topped football with $214.4 million.
“With the NHL back in action and the NBA with a full schedule, January’s sports schedule was more or less normal for the first time since February 2020,” Gouker said. “That gives us a reliable barometer for where New Jersey is as a sports betting market.”
Online casinos and poker
New Jersey’s online casinos have been on a roll themselves, hitting $100 million in combined casino games and poker revenue for the first time. In all, online gaming and poker generated $103.8 million in January, up 88.4% from $55.1 million in January 2020 and topping the previous record of $99.5 million set in December. January’s win yielded $15.5 million in state taxes.
Online gaming continues to be one of New Jersey’s great success stories. Its year-over-year revenue is a continuation of a long pattern of growth that has now generated $2.6 billion in operator revenue since launching in November 2013.
“Online casino games continue to show no signs of letting up,” Ramsey said. “Obviously with pandemic-related restrictions in place on Atlantic City casinos, online casinos were in position to pick up some slack. But the online gains made over the last year should withstand the reopening of retail casinos, continuing to buoy the entire gaming industry.”
Some other highlights from January’s report:
- Borgata inched closer to the Golden Nugget, which has led the online casino market for years. Borgata generated $28.7 million in January revenue, which was just behind the Golden Nugget’s $31.2 million in January revenue. Resorts Digital, which has also made significant gains over the last year, was third with $22.8 million.
- Online casinos and poker generated $3.3 million a day over 31 days in January, up from $3.2 million a day over 31 days in December.
- Revenue from online casinos was $101 million, up from $96.4 million in December. Online poker produced $2.7 million, down from $3 million in December.
For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting and online gaming in New Jersey, visit PlayNJ.com/news.