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US – New Jersey sports betting dips expectedly but April still a month of milestones

By - 16 May 2021

New Jersey sports betting volume expectedly slowed to less than $750m in April, the first month of a typical seasonal dip that should last into August. But the nation’s largest sports betting market still surpassed $15bn in lifetime handle, $1bn in revenue, and $150m in tax revenue.

“Considering the challenges, particularly in 2020, $15bn in wagering and $1bn 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 $748m in wagers in April, according to official data released Friday. That is down 13 per cent from $859.6m in March, but up 1,270.1 per cent over $54.6m in bets taken in pandemic-marred April 2020.

Operator revenue dropped 9.9 per cent to $54.8m in April from $60.8m in March. April’s action yielded $8.1m in state taxes.

Since launching, New Jersey sportsbooks have generated $15.2bn in handle, $1.04bn in revenue and $151.4m in state taxes. While New Jersey’s volume declined from March, the month-over-month drop in wagering was less pronounced than other US betting markets.

“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.”

Online betting accounted for 91.1 per cent, or $681.2m, of April’s handle. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped the online market with $25.5m in gross revenue.

Retailers generated $66.8m in wagering, down from $79.5m in March but a stark difference from the shutdown in 2020. Meadowlands/FanDuel led retailers 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,” Mr. 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 rooms enjoyed another month of whopping revenue with $107.7m in April, up 34.8 per cent from $80m in April 2020, though off from the record $113.7m generated in March.

Borgata, which includes the BetMGM brand, $32.8m in revenue on online casino games and poker in April, a dramatic increase from $15.9m in revenue in April. Golden Nugget was second with $32.4m in revenue, up from $26.7m in April 2020.

“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.”

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