Despite the NBA Finals and Tokyo Olympics, New Jersey’s sportsbooks were unable to shrug off a national trend that has typically made July the slowest month of sports betting.
But with relatively strong sports-betting revenue, another monthly record for online gambling, and strong results from Atlantic City’s retail casinos, the state’s gaming outlets set a fresh monthly record for total gaming revenue with $450.6m in July, according to PlayNJ.
Online and retail sportsbooks accepted $578.7m in bets in July, down 24.5% from $766.9m in June. July 2021 was up 83.7% from $315.1m in July 2020, a month with the relaunch of baseball and the beginning of the NBA bubble.
July’s wagering was far less than February’s $743m handle, previously the low point of the year. That echoes 2019, when July’s $251.4m handle was the lowest monthly tally of that year.
David Danzis, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com, explained: “Atlantic City benefits from a boost in summer tourism, but July is a time when summer travel and busy schedules put online sports betting in the backseat, particularly for locals.
“In the end, online casino gaming, retail casinos, and online and retail sports betting work as a three-legged stool, and together they are helping the New Jersey gaming industry outperform most every market in the US.”
At 7.8%, the hold percentage remained high in July for New Jersey’s sportsbooks, yielding $55m in gross gaming revenue. That was down 22.9% from $71.3m in June and up 86% from $29.6m in July 2021. In the end, sports betting produced $8.3m in state and local taxes in July.
Baseball was the top sport in July with $195.4m in wagering over the course of the month, up from $169.3m in June. With the NBA Finals in July, basketball was second with $74.8m, down from $190.9m in June. Sports listed as “other,” which would include the Olympics, fell to $180.4m from $234.8m in June.
“The Olympics didn’t cause a spike in volume, which was held down even more by the significant difference in time zones,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayNJ.com. “The NBA Finals helped the state’s sportsbooks avoid a steeper decline, and the Olympics did offer sportsbooks a chance to reach new customers, which can be valuable down the road.
Online operators generated $529.4m in wagers in July, or 91.5% of July’s statewide handle. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet once again topped online operators with $29.5m in gross revenue, down from $38.1m in May.
Retail sportsbooks continued in their recovery, tallying $49.3m in wagers in July, down from $83.9m in June. Meadowlands/FanDuel topped all retail sportsbooks in July with $2.2m in revenue.
“Casual sports bettors engage with sportsbooks less frequently in the heart of the summer,” Danzis said. “But the good news for sportsbooks is that sports betting will soon start to gain momentum as casual bettors return home from summer vacations and begin to turn their focus to football.”
Online casinos and poker rooms continue to side-step any summer slowdown, generating a record $118.7m in gross gaming revenue in July. That is up 35.7% from $87.5m in July 2020 and up 10.9% from $107.1m in May. July shattered the previous revenue high of $113.7m set in March.
Online casino games alone generated $115.6m in July, pushing lifetime revenue to $3bn since online gambling launched in November 2013. And growth has been consistent from the beginning. Through seven months of 2021, online casino games and poker have generated $752.9m in revenue, up 47.6% from $510.2m through the same period in 2020.
“The bounce back in Atlantic City hasn’t slowed online casinos a bit,” Ramsey said. “Any worry that the return of casino visitation would come at the expense of online revenue should be alleviated now.”