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US – New Jersey sports betting slows in June but $1bn year now a reality

By - 19 July 2021

New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks rejoined the national trend of declining betting volume in June. But a hold of 9.3 per cent pushed revenue at sportsbooks to more than $71m, a remarkable result that blunted the effects of any summer slowdown.

“Overall, New Jersey continues to perform far better than every other sports betting market in the US,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayNJ.com. “No market can completely overcome a lack of betting inventory, but New Jersey’s sportsbooks continue to find ways to capitalize on what the sports world is offering, most notably the NBA Playoffs and baseball.”

Online and retail sportsbooks took in $766.9m in bets in June, according to official data released Friday. That is down 5.8 per cent from $814.3m in May, but up from $117.8m in June 2020.

June’s action yielded $71.3m in gross gaming revenue, the most in operator revenue since sportsbooks posted a record $82.6m in January. Operator revenue was up 34.7 per cent from $52.9m in May and up exponentially over $12.6m in June 2020.

All told, June’s betting yielded $10.5m in state and local taxes.

March brought the highest betting volume in US history, with $4.6bn in legal bets placed across the US. With no football or betting holiday like March Madness, combined US handle fell to $3.7bn in both April and May. That is a 19.6 per cent drop from March’s high. But New Jersey’s volume has outperformed the rest of the US, down 10.8 per cent in June from $859.6m in March.

June saw $190.9m in basketball-related bets, easily the most of any sport during the month.

“While the sportsbooks in most states have been scouring the sports landscape for opportunities to drive interest, New Jersey’s books have successfully capitalized on the NBA playoffs and baseball,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com.

89.1 per cent, or $734.7m, of June’s handle came through an online operator. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet commanded the market lead once again with $38.1m in gross revenue, up from $29.8m in May.

Meanwhile, retail sportsbooks continued to benefit from loosening restrictions with $83.9m wagers in June, up from $79.6m in May. Meadowlands/FanDuel led all retail books with $6.4m in revenue in June.

The most mature US market other than Nevada, New Jersey should get an infusion of new brands, including a potential Sports Illustrated-branded app, after SI and 888 Holdings announced a deal to create an app that could launch in multiple markets. This as voters get a chance to alter the market with a vote later this year to lift the state’s ban on wagering on in-state college teams.

“It feels like market share in New Jersey is cemented right now,” Ramsey said. “Right now, the state could really benefit from a small shakeup. A new brand with a well-known name like SI could help. So too would unlocking local college sports betting.”

Online casinos and poker rooms extended their run of $100m-plus revenue months to four, reaching $107.1m in June. Revenue was up 26.1 per cent from $84.9m in June 2020, though down from $108.2m in May.

Through six months of 2021, online gaming has produced $634.2m in revenue. That is well on pace to surpass the record $970.3m in revenue in 2020 and easily reach $1bn in revenue in a single year for the first time.

Borgata/BetMGM led in June with $34.3 million in casino and poker revenue. That topped rival Golden Nugget, which reached $27.6 million.

“The positive effect of online sports betting, the race for market share, and the behavioral changes that stemmed from last year’s pandemic-related shutdowns continue to benefit online casinos and poker rooms,” Ramsey said. “$1bn in annual revenue seems like a certainty now. And more growth could come this fall, even with Atlantic City recovering.”

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