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US – New York’s closed market good news for Pennsylvania’s sports books

By - 19 April 2021

New Jersey sportsbooks surged, including the largest retail handle in more than two years, but fell well short of the first $1bn wagering month in US sports betting history. This while online casino gaming continued shatter records in March.

“March represents a much-needed bounce back after a somewhat disappointing February,” said Dustin Gouker lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “It will probably be until football season before the state gets that first $1bn month, but New Jersey’s online market has made a habit of outperforming expectations. Longer term, though, New Jersey’s market faces serious challenges, most notably New York’s expected launch of online sports betting later this year.”

“New York’s decision to create a closed market was good news for operators who are heavily vested in New Jersey,” Mr. Gouker added. “By closing the market, the select few operators that will operate in New York will have to focus on profitability just to meet the state’s high revenue split. That will leave a window open for some operators to offer more competitive products and promote more aggressively than any operator in New York.”

New Jersey’s sportsbooks accepted $859.6m in wagers in March, according to official data released Friday. That is the state’s highest monthly handle in a month without football, and a sharp difference from the $181.9m handle in March 2020, a month marred by pandemic-related shutdowns.

Including March’s handle, New Jersey has posted the eight highest-volume months in US sports betting history.

March’s wagers produced $60.8m in revenue. That is up 360.9 per cent from $13.2m in March 2020, and up 31.5 per cent from $46.2m February. March’s win resulted in $7.7m in taxes for the state.

Fueled by March Madness, basketball accounted for $441.7m of the state’s handle in March, up from $320.3m in January and $325.8m in February. Retail sportsbooks generated $79.5m in bets, the highest volume for retail books since January 2019.

“The popularity of college basketball is what led to the resurgence of retail sportsbooks, good news for a segment that hasn’t seen much over the last year,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “If New Jersey allowed betting on in-state college teams, the run by Rutgers could have given them an additional boost. Regardless, it was an excellent month for sportsbooks.”

Online betting accounted for 90.8 per cent, or $780.1m, of the state’s handle in March. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped the online market with $28.5 million in gross revenue.

Meadowlands/FanDuel led retail books with $2.8m in revenue.

Online casino games and poker generated a US record $113.7m in March revenue, up 75.4 per cent from $64.8m in March 2020. March’s revenue topped the previous record of $103.8m set in January. The result for the state was $17.1m in taxes.

Borgata’s record $36.2m in March revenue marked the first time in years the Golden Nugget, which generated $31.8m in March, was not the market leader.

“Borgata’s increasing focus on and success in the online market shows how the pandemic changed the dynamic for online casinos,” Ramsey said. “Even when we get past this pandemic, I don’t think gamblers will log into online casinos any less. Instead, this year-long surge points to a long-lasting market shift.”

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