New Jersey became the first US state to generate more than $1bn in sports betting in a single month by taking in $1.01bn in wagers in September.
The sports betting milestone came as New Jersey also set a new high for online casino revenue, helping to push the state to the total gaming revenue record ($453.6), according to PlayNJ, which tracks gaming developments in the state.
That $1.01bn total broke the state and US record of $996.3m that New Jersey set in December 2020. September’s volume was up 35.1% from the $748.6m generated in September 2020, up 52.1% from $664.7m in August.
Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayNJ.com, said: “The state’s gaming industry has seemingly run out of ways to surprise, but sportsbooks reaching $1bn in monthly handle is a reminder that there is no gaming market in the US that is playing on New Jersey’s level. The relentless growth in online sports betting and casino gaming continues to lift the entire industry.”
Gross gaming revenue in September just missed an all-time high, too. Operator revenue rose 82.9% to $82.4m in September from $45.1m in September 2020 and 58.5% from $52m in August. September’s revenue was just short of the previous high of $82.6m in January. Sports betting produced $12.1m in state and local taxes in September.
New Jersey crossing the $1bn threshold has been a long time coming. Sportsbooks combined to generate at least $930m in wagering in November, December, and January. Football was the key, generating $400.8m in wagers on completed events as college football played a full schedule and the NFL returned in September. The total dwarfed the $185.2m baseball attracted.
“Football wagering is vital in every state where sports betting is legal and necessary for sportsbooks to reach such heights,” said David Danzis, an analyst for PlayNJ.com. “What’s most impressive is just how much New Jersey has evolved into a market with no equals. The Garden State’s 12 highest volume months happen to be the 12 highest volume months in US history. And all of them have come since August 2020.”
Bettors wagered $918.4m in September through online sportsbooks, representing 90.8% of the statewide handle. That is the second-most all-time.
Meadowlands/FanDuel/PointsBet/SuperBook again led the online market with $36.6m in gross revenue, up from $23.6m in August.
Retail sportsbooks attracted a record $92.7m in September, up from $51.8m in wagers in August. Meadowlands/FanDuel dominated the retail market again with $4.7m in revenue.
New Jersey sportsbooks have already shattered their annual records for revenue and wagers, producing $558m in revenue on $7.1bn in wagering through the first nine months of 2021. And the final three months promise to be even busier, with baseball’s postseason and the NBA’s regular season debut on tap in October. And a strong finish to 2021 could push wagering past $10bn for the year.
“As impressive as September was, New Jersey’s sports betting market hasn’t yet reached its ceiling,” Ramsey said. “The NBA and college basketball seasons could really send wagering into another stratosphere in the coming months.”
Online casinos and poker rooms produced a record $122.6m in gross gaming revenue in September. September’s revenue was up 39.9% from $87.6m in September 2020, though short of the record $118.7m set in July.
For the year, online casinos and poker rooms have generated $988.7m in revenue for the year, surpassing the previous record of $970.4m in annual revenue set in all of 2020. That relentless growth in the online market continues to be a boon for the entire state’s gaming industry.
Combined with $248.5m in retail casino revenue across the state, and September’s online and retail sportsbook revenue, New Jersey’s gaming industry reached $453.6m for the month. That broke the state’s record for total gaming revenue of $450.6m, which was set in July.
“Acceptance of online casino gambling accelerated during the pandemic, and it has left the industry with its most consistent revenue driver,” Danzis said. “There was once a fear that online gaming would sap Atlantic City of its appeal. But as retail gaming slowly returns to health, it shows that the industry is stronger with a diverse revenue stream from online and retail casinos and sportsbooks.”