New Jersey sports betting volume expectedly slowed to less than $750 million in April, the first month of a typical seasonal dip that should last into August. But the popularity of the NBA helped buffer New Jersey sportsbooks more than in most other legal states, spurring enough action to push the nation’s largest sports betting market past $15 billion in lifetime handle, $1 billion in revenue, and $150 million in tax revenue, according to PlayNJ, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.
“Considering the challenges, particularly in 2020, $15 billion in wagering and $1 billion in revenue are incredible yard sticks that really drive home just how successful the New Jersey market has been,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “At least until New York launches its sports betting industry, New Jersey seems untouchable as the nation’s largest market.”
New Jersey’s sportsbooks accepted $748 million in wagers in April, according to official data released Friday. That is down 13% from $859.6 million in March, but up 1,270.1% over the $54.6 million in bets taken in April 2020, the first full month sportsbooks were affected by pandemic-related shutdowns.
Operator revenue dropped 9.9% to $54.8 million in April from $60.8 million in March. Compared with April 2020, which resulted in just $2.6 million, revenue was up 1,981.9% year over year. April’s action yielded $8.1 million in state taxes.
From 2018 through April 2020, New Jersey sportsbooks have generated:
$15.2 billion in handle.
$1.04 billion in sport betting revenue.
$151.4 million in state taxes.
April’s results are microcosm of the consistency that has helped make New Jersey the nation’s top sports betting market. While New Jersey’s volume declined from March, the month-over-month drop in wagering was less pronounced than other U.S. betting markets, including Colorado (-18%), Indiana (-25.4%), Iowa (-26.7%), and Michigan (-30.5%).
The popularity of the NBA and baseball in New Jersey was a key reason, as area bettors were particularly motivated by the success of the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and New York Knicks. In all, basketball betting produced $176.2 million in bets, which was down from the $441.7 million tallied during March Madness. Baseball’s first month was the second-most popular bet in April, generating $159.3 million.
“New Jersey is unique in that it has never been quite as reliant on football as other legal jurisdictions,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “NBA has always been particularly popular. Add that the region’s three most popular teams are all enjoying relatively strong seasons, and New Jersey sportsbooks have so far been able to smooth the natural seasonal decline that begins in April.”
Even with retail restrictions loosening in Atlantic City, online betting accounted for 91.1%, or $681.2 million, of the state’s total handle in April. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped the online market with $25.5 million in gross revenue, down from $28.5 million in March.
FanDuel was followed in revenue by:
Resorts Digital/DraftKings/Fox Bet ($12 million, down from $14.1 million in March)
BetMGM/Borgata ($5.2 million, down from $6.5 million)
Ocean Casino/William Hill ($1.8 million, down from $2.8 million)
Monmouth/William Hill/SugarHouse/TheScore ($1.8 million, down from $2.2 million)
Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($1.3 million, down from $1.4 million)
Golden Nugget/BetAmerica ($202,545, up from $111,453)
Tropicana/William Hill ($52,922, down from $142,633)
Caesars Sportsbook/888sport (-$183,283, down from $721,776)
Meanwhile retail sportsbooks generated $66.8 million in wagering, down from $79.5 million in March and a stark difference from the complete shutdown of retail betting in 2020. Meadowlands/FanDuel led all retail books with $3.6 million in revenue in April.
“Retail betting is slowly returning to normal, and that could become even more pronounced when all capacity restrictions are lifted next week,” Gouker said. “That won’t make a major difference for online sportsbooks, which are overwhelmingly preferred by bettors. But it could have an impact on online casino revenue, which made a massive and sustained jump since pandemic-related restrictions began last year.”
Online casinos and poker
Online casinos and poker rooms enjoyed another month of whopping revenue with $107.7 million in April, which was up 34.8% from $80 million in April 2020, though off from the record $113.7 million generated in March. April marked the third time in four months that New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms have produced more than $100 million in revenue, the only three months any state has crossed the threshold.
For the second consecutive month, Borgata, which includes the BetMGM brand, wrestled the market lead away from years-long market leader Golden Nugget. But only slightly. Borgata won $32.8 million in revenue on online casino games and poker in April, a dramatic increase from $15.9 million in revenue in April 2020 even if revenue was down from $36.2 million in March. Golden Nugget was second with $32.4 million in revenue, up from $26.7 million in April 2020 and up from $31.8 million in March. Resorts Digital, which includes the FoxBet and DraftKings brands, was third with $19.6 million in April, up from $16.1 million in April 2020 but down from $21.4 million in March.
“The battle for market supremacy was something that would have been hard to predict before the pandemic, but 2020 has really shaken up the way people interact with casino games, perhaps forever,” Ramsey said. “With restrictions in Atlantic City going away, though, this could mark the ceiling of the online market. But a more reasonable expectation is a moderation of the exponential growth that began in spring 2020, rather than an end to it.”
Other highlights from April report:
Online casinos and poker generated $3.6 million per day in the 30 days of April, down from the record $3.7 million per day in March and up from $2.7 million in April 2020.
Online casinos and poker rooms generated $18.9 million in state and local taxes.
Online casinos accounted for $105.3 million of April’s revenue, up 40.8% from $74.8 million in April 2020.
Online poker generated $2.4 million, down 53.3% from $5.1 million in April 2020.
For more information and analysis on regulated sports betting and online gaming in New Jersey, visit PlayNJ.com/news.
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The PlayUSA.com Network is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the United States. With a presence in over a dozen states, PlayUSA.com and its state-focused branches produce original daily reporting, publish in-depth research, and offer player advocacy tools related to the advancement of safe, licensed, and legal online gaming options for consumers. Based in Las Vegas, the PlayUSA Network is independently owned and operated, with no affiliations to any casino — commercial, tribal, online, or otherwise.