Wagering at New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks slowed in April to $927m, marking the first month of an expected seasonal ebb in sports betting. But year-over-year gains remained high while online casinos continued their momentum in April, a sign that the digital industry continues to fare well despite economic headwinds that are beginning to affect brick-and-mortar casinos, according to PlayNJ, which tracks gaming developments in the state.
“So far the national economic headwinds do not appear to be taking a significant bite out of the gaming industry,” said David Danzis, an analyst for PlayNJ.com. “But it is entirely possible that as everyday costs increase, people will begin to curtail their betting. Time will tell, but it is a concern for the industry.”
New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks generated $926.9bn in bets in April, which is still up 23.9 per cent from $746.8m in April 2021, according to official reporting released Monday. April’s handle was down 17.3 per cent from $1.1bn in March, and was the lowest since $664.7m in bets were made in August 2021.
While year-over-year growth remained significant, April marked the first month this year with a year-over-year gain of less than 31 per cent.
April’s bets produced $50.3m in operator revenue, which was down 8.2 per cent from $54.7m in April 2021, and down 24.2 per cent from $66.4m in March. March’s win yielded $7.1m in state and local taxes.
Basketball betting — which included the Final Four and the NBA Playoffs in April — buoyed sportsbooks by generating $323.4m in straight wagers. That was up 83.6 per cent from $176.2m in April 2021. Basketball has now generated $2bn in wagers over four months of 2022. Baseball attracted $177.9m in straight wagers, up from $154.9m in April 2021.
“The popularity of the NBA has always buffered the state from a more dramatic spring slowdown,” Danzis said. “Having the Sixers and Nets in the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs this year certainly doesn’t hurt either. The market will continue to cool in the coming months as NBA games become less frequent and baseball and other sports such as golf take center stage.”
Online sportsbooks attracted $863.1bn in wagers, or 93.1 per cent of April’s handle, and won $46.3m in revenue on those bets. FanDuel/PointsBet/SuperBook topped the online market with $29.2m in gross revenue, down from $33.7m in March. DraftKings/Fox Bet was second with $7.4m in revenue.
Meanwhile, retail sportsbooks won $4m on $63.8m in bets. Meadowlands/FanDuel topped the market with $4.1 in revenue.
“While volume is expected to remain relatively low over the summer months, sportsbooks have been successful over the years in generating significant revenue with baseball parlays and major golf tournaments,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayNJ.com. “Those bets have less favorable odds for bettors than straight wagers, and help ensure operators remain profitable.”
New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms generated $136.9m in revenue in April, the third-most over a single month behind only March’s record $140.7m and January’s $137.8m. Averaged out per day, though, revenue was up to $4.6m over the 30 days in April, topping the previous record of $4.5m per day in March.
April’s win was up 27 per cent from $107.7m in April 2021, and generated $20.5m in state taxes and fees.
“We keep looking for the ceiling in the online market, but New Jersey still hasn’t hit it,” Ramsey said. “With inflation eating away at discretionary income, though, it wouldn’t be surprising to finally see a leveling off in the coming months after nearly 10 years of constant growth. But online gaming could also benefit if customers choose to stay home rather than travel to an Atlantic City casino.”
Borgata led the state with $39.9m in casino and poker revenue. Golden Nugget was second with $38.1m and Resorts Atlantic City was No. 3 with $29.1m. Online casino games produced $134.6m in revenue, up 27.8 per cent from $105.3m in April 2021. Online poker generated $2.3m in revenue, down 6.3 per cent from $2.4m in March 2021.