Gaming records continue to be set in the state of New Jersey, with online casinos and poker rooms experiencing a monthly boom in revenue to $85.9m. But while online sportsbooks more than doubled the state’s combined handle in May, they still fell short of an ordinary May by nearly $400m according to PlayNJ estimates. 

Even with most major professional sports in the US shuttered and Atlantic City’s casinos and retail sportsbooks closed, New Jersey’s online sportsbooks still managed to boost monthly handle to $117.8m. 

That total was up by 115.8% from $54.6m in April. Even with the jump, May’s handle is down 63.1% from $318.9m in May 2019 and still well short of the more than $500m in bets that would have been made in an ordinary May, according to PlayNJ estimates.

Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for, noted: “May’s increase is a positive sign, but until major professional sports resume and Atlantic City casinos reopen, the gaming industry will look nowhere near normal.

“But optimism can be found with DraftKings, which has become a darling of Wall Street since it became a publicly traded company. That shows just how much confidence investors have in the future of sports betting.”

May’s bets produced a surprising $9.9m in gross revenue, down 36.1% from $15.5m in April 2019 and more than tripling the $2.6m in April 2020, yielding $1.3m in state taxes.

“The bottom line sports betting numbers aren’t pretty, but there is a silver lining in how online sportsbooks have managed to survive these shutdowns,” said PlayNJ analyst Eric Ramsey. “New Jersey’s operators have been creative in keeping bettors engaged and sportsbooks generating revenue, even when fringe sports are the only real attraction. Thanks to some imagination, it appears online sportsbooks will help the industry get through this.”

Without retail sportsbooks, which left a $55m hole in May’s handle, online sportsbooks were the only revenue generator for the state. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet led the market with $4.3m in gross revenue, up from $1.65m in April. 

While online sportsbooks scraped to attract bettors again in May, the future is brighter. The PGA Tour and boxing have each reopened this week, offering bettors another option in the short-term. And the NBA and MLS have firmed up July reopenings.

“We are just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Gouker. “Retail sports betting will take time to return even after reopening. But the path to recovery for online sportsbooks is simple: Sports need to come back. That is finally starting to happen.”

On the immediate outlook, Ramsey commented: “Land-based gambling revenue almost certainly won’t return in June, and it will take some time to recover while Atlantic City casinos presumably navigate reduced capacity and relatively weak tourism demand.

“Because of that, online casinos will continue to be relied upon to bridge the revenue gap. Even if online revenue can’t fully replace what has been lost from the shutdown, the overall gaming industry would be in much worse shape without it.”