N.J.’s sportsbooks hit close to $500M, A.C. casinos cont. to see gains

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | Nov 15, 2019 at 12:37 pm

New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks posted nearly a $500 million handle in October — the highest ever recorded — and continues to grow monthly with whopping year-over-year gains, according to PlayNJ.com.

And with the start of basketball season approaching, the online casino website said in a news release, growth is expected to continue on an upward trajectory.

“New Jersey has a real shot at surpassing Nevada again, if not in October, some time before the end of the NFL season,” Dustin Gouker, lead analyst at PlayNJ.com, said. “The state’s handle is growing at a pace near 100%, year-over-year. And the overlapping of football and basketball should propel New Jersey into new territory.”

The state’s online sportsbooks accepted $487.9 million in bets in October, an 87% jump from the $260.7 million in October 2018. In terms of bets, the month yield was $46.4 million (up from $11.7 million in October 2018), generating $5.7 million in taxes.

PlayNJ.com said it expects New Jersey’s handle this month to fall short of Nevada’s, which will be announced at a later date. Approximately $417 million bets were made online in October, accounting for 85% of the handle, up from 84% in September.

“If New Jersey is going to pass Nevada during the NFL season, it will be in large part due to the comparative popularity of basketball in the Northeast,” Gouker said. “In Nevada, football betting is king, and it’s nearly as popular in New Jersey. But a key differentiator between the two markets is that New Jersey bettors’ have shown more interest in other major sports, especially basketball.”

Atlantic City also showed continued growth in October, according to the most recent Division of Gaming Enforcement gaming revenue report.

“October gaming revenue showed sustained growth for Atlantic City’s casinos,”  Steve Callender, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey, said. “New Jersey sportsbooks have surpassed Nevada’s in recent months, and it continues to show significant promise for the gaming industry. We are optimistic as we approach the end of this year that we will finish 2019 out in a strong position.”

The DGE report showed October was the 17th straight month of gaming revenue increases in the resort city due to sports betting and the World Series, football, basketball and hockey seasons.

It also showed the month’s gaming revenue for Atlantic City was more than $266 million, a 13.6% increase over the same period last year.

Other highlights include:

  • Online gaming revenue was more than $45 million, up 69% from October 2018;
  • Sports wagering revenue was more than $18 million, up 170.7% from October 2018;
  • The industry generated more than $23 million in taxes and fees collected by the state in October;
  • Total gaming revenue in Atlantic City for 2019 through October is over $2.7 billion.

“Atlantic City’s casinos have seen consistent growth almost across the board,” said Debra DiLorenzo, President & CEO, Chamber of Commerce of Southern Jersey. “October’s gaming revenue increases prove that Atlantic City is thriving, and we look forward to seeing this positive momentum drive jobs, tourism and the economy.”

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | emilybader