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US – New Jersey generates $6bn in bets in 2020 as December falls just short of first $1bn month

By - 14 January 2021

New Jersey fell just short in December of becoming the first state to accept $1bn in sports bets in a single month, but still extended a streak of record-setting months while reaching a record $6bn in wagers for the year. This while online casinos and poker continued to stem the millions in revenues losses by retail casinos.

“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.”

New Jersey’s sportsbooks collected a record $996.3m in December wagers, according to official data released Wednesday. That surpassed the record $931m bet in November, and marked the fifth straight month the state has set an all-jurisdiction record.

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

For all of 2020, New Jersey’s retail and online sportsbooks produced $6.02bn in bets, $5.5bn in online wagering, $398.5m in operator revenue and $65.1m in state and local taxes.

“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 per cent, or $929.3m, of the state’s total handle in December. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped online operators with $29m in gross revenue.

Retail sportsbooks generated $67m in bets, down from $75.9m in December 2019. 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,” Mr. 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.”

New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms generated a record $99.5m in revenue in December, up 101.6 per cent from $49.3m in December 2019. The month produced $14.9m in state taxes.

Online casinos tallied $970.3m in revenue in 2020 — a 101 per cent gain from $482.7m in 2019 — and produced $145.7m in state taxes. With revenue at retail casinos down $1.2bn year over year, the rise in online gaming revenue was critical.

“It’s scary to think of where New Jersey’s gaming industry would be without online casino gaming,” Ramsey said. “Every dollar of revenue gained and tax dollar generated from online gaming proved desperately needed.”

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