In August, New Jersey’s sportsbooks experienced great growth ahead of the NFL season, while the state’s online casinos posted near-record volumes according to PlayNJ, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.
New Jersey’s sportsbook volume grew to more than $664m in August, ahead of what could be a boom period for the vertical that’ll make the state the first to reach $1bn in wagering over a single month.
Meanwhile, the Garden State’s online casinos posted a near-record month to draw closer towards becoming the first state to generate $1bn in annual internet gaming revenue by October.
Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayNJ.com, stated: “The state’s online casinos continue to churn out $100m-plus revenue months, month after month, and August’s growth shows just a hint of what is to come for sports betting. Now the state’s sportsbooks and online casinos are both poised to reach heights that not long ago were thought to be impossible.”
According to PlayNJ’s official data, sportsbooks took in $664.7m in August bets, down 0.5% from the $668m recorded during the same period last year, but up 14.9% from July’s 2021 low of $578.7m. $6.1bn in wagers has now been generated in wagers in 2021, beating the $6bn produced in all of 2020.
Gross gaming revenue jumped by 31.7% to $52m despite the flat year-on-year volume (August 2020: $39.5m). Revenue did fall 5.4% from July’s $55m, generating $7.9m in state and local taxes.
The sport attracting the most attention in August was baseball with $248m in wagering on completed events, up on July’s $195.4m. Football drew $27.4m in bets even with just a few games played.
In September, PlayNJ believes New Jersey’s sportsbooks could push toward $1bn in wagering thanks to college football and the NFL returning. In December 2020, bettors placed $996.3m in wagers, the last full month of the previous NFL regular season.
Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayNJ.com, commented: “With only a few college and NFL preseason games, August still showed the outsized effect football has on the sports-betting industry. Even if September falls short of $1bn in wagering, we will likely get there before the end of the year.”
Breaking down August’s $664.7m in bets, $612.9m were made online, representing 92.2% of the statewide handle. Meadowlands/FanDuel/PointsBet/SuperBook led the online market with $23.6m in gross revenue, down from July’s $29.5m. Retail sportsbooks attracted $51.8m, an improvement on July’s $49.3m. Meadowlands/FanDuel led all retail sportsbooks with $3.2m in revenue.
Cross added: “This is the beginning of a pivotal time for sportsbook operators not only for revenue generation, but as the primary method for sportsbooks to grow their base. Operators are pouring millions into promotional offerings and advertising around football to help gain greater market share. But FanDuel has proven to be the single most dominant force among New Jersey sportsbooks, and that is unlikely to change this fall.”
New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms generated $113.2m in GGR, a 29% gain on the previous year (August 2020: $87.8m) but short of July’s record number of $118.7m. Online casino games accounted for $110.8m, up 30.7% year-over-year (August 2020: $84.7m).
In terms of revenue, online casinos and poker rooms have now generated $100m or more for six consecutive months, and seven of eight months in 2021, producing $866.1m on the year. PlayNJ notes the verticals are on track to beat 2020’s record of $970.4m in annual revenue by October and surpass the $1bn mark for the first time.
Ramsey stated: “This year’s revenue could end up nearly tripling the revenue gained in all of 2019, which is remarkable to think about. The behavior change we saw last year appears long-lasting, and perhaps even permanent.
“While there are some bumps in the road ahead for sports betting, including increased competition from neighbors, it appears there is not much that will slow down online casinos.”