Despite an estimated shortfall of $300m in sporting wagers in June, the news was not all bad for New Jersey’s sportsbooks according to analysts at PlayNJ. PlayFutures betting and non-traditional sports helped operators avoid an early summer lull in June, while online casinos and poker continued to lead the state’s gaming industry.
June’s $165m handle, said PlayNJ, was good news. And with baseball and the NBA season set to open in late July, retail casinos reopening, and significant investments in online casinos and poker, better days are nearing for the Garden State’s gaming industry.
“June is typically slow for sports betting so any growth is a surprise, and it appears July will return the gaming industry to something more resembling normal,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “New Jersey will still have longer-term issues. It will take time to recover, and the gaming industry will likely be affected for as long as the world is suffering from this health crisis. But for now, optimism in the industry is growing.”
The state’s betting handle rose 40.1% to $165m — all from online betting — from $117.8m in May. June 2020 was down 39.6% from $273.2m in June 2019.
Gross revenue in June rose to $12.6m from May’s $9.9m and was actually more than the $9.7m in revenue generated in June 2019. June’s revenue yielded $1.7m in state taxes.
Sports categorized by New Jersey as “other” than football, basketball, and baseball generated a shocking $125.8m in bets in June, up from $95.4m in May. And bets on the three major US sports ticked up, mainly on the power of futures betting on baseball and the NBA ahead of an expected July return of both.
“The robust betting on nontraditional sports since the sports world has shuttered has been a surprise, but it will never completely make up for the loss of major sports,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for PlayNJ.com. “Futures will continue to gain steam, fueled by pent-up demand, as the opening of baseball, basketball, and hockey nears. If plans continue to move forward, July and August should produce a significant leap.”
With Atlantic City casinos closed in June, online sportsbooks were again the only revenue generator for the state. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet led the market with $6.2m in gross revenue, up from $4.3m in May. “As strong as online sports betting continues to be, the reopening of Atlantic City is crucial to healing the industry, even with restrictions,” Gouker said. “It will help generate new revenue, of course. And in doing so, operators are hopeful that it will help the industry steady itself.”