The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) released the state’s gaming numbers for December earlier this month and, as expected, a new record for sports betting was set. The total handle among the Garden State’s nine Atlantic City casinos and three statewide horse tracks reached $996 million.
This was the fifth month in a row that New Jersey sportsbooks set a new record for total monthly sports betting across the entire legal US sports betting industry. A full complement of live sports drove the numbers in December including the start of a new NBA season.
Overall, the numbers have been staggering. For the entire fiscal year 2020, New Jersey’s sports betting handle topped the $6 billion plateau.
The NJDGE also reported that the total sports betting revenue topped $398.5 million. This represents a 33.1 percent increase over the previous year ($299.4 million).
The shift to online betting and mobile sportsbook apps continues to define the entire sports betting industry. Breaking down New Jersey’s numbers, $5.5 billion of the total yearly handle was bet online as opposed to the $487.1 million bet in retail casinos and race tracks.
It’s worth mentioning that New Jersey online casinos are also regulated. Total online gambling revenue almost doubled in 2020. It jumped from $482.7 million in 2019 to $970.3 million last year. These online trends are expected to continue to increase in 2021 at the expense of the land-based venues.
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Total state revenue for all gaming activities in 2020 was $2.88 billion. This actually represents a 16.9 percent decline will all the losses coming in the land-based casino business.
Of the nine Atlantic City casinos, the Golden Nugget was the only one that took in more money in 2020 as compared to the previous year. Revenue topped $415 million which reflected a 10 percent gain.
Harrah’s was hit the hardest with a 46.8 percent decline to $166.3 million. The total gaming revenue at Resorts declined 43.8 percent to $100.2 million. Caesars matched that same percentage loss with $153.3 million in revenue last year.
Revenue for the other Atlantic City casinos was as follows:
- Borgata– $577.3 million (-27.6%)
- Hard Rock– $290.5 million (-17.0%)
- Tropicana- $231.5 million (-33.8%)
- Ocean- $214.1 million (-10.1%)
Over the past few months, New Jersey has been able to establish itself as the biggest sports betting market in the country, displacing Nevada sportsbooks at the top of the list.
Looking at the sports betting lineup in January highlighted by the NFL’s postseason run to Super Bowl LV, the NJ handle should top the $1 billion mark.
The handle is the total amount of money wagered on sports and sporting events. A sportsbook’s actual revenue is a reflection of its hold percentage. This is the difference between the money paid out on winning bets and the money plus commission (juice or vig) collected on losing wagers.
As 2021 wears on, New Jersey will have to keep a close eye on its neighbor New York as it moves to expand into legal mobile sports betting. It is estimated that New York bettors account for as much as 20 percent of New Jersey’s current monthly handle.