N.J. sportsbooks continue to set records as 4 major sports fuel betting

(File photo)

New Jersey’s sportsbooks continued to welcome the return of major U.S. sports, as they set another record with nearly $750 million in wagers in September, according to news and analytical site PlayNJ.

The mark represented a record for any and all gaming jurisdictions, breaking the one set in August by New Jersey. September’s total was fueled by important games being played in all four major sports — including the Major League Baseball pennant race, start of the NFL football season, and playoffs in basketball and hockey that were delayed from earlier in the year, PlayNJ noted.

New Jersey’s year-to-date handle through nine months has exceeded the year-ago total for the time frame, despite major sports being shut down for months in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“September was a once-in-a-lifetime moment on the sports calendar when all four major U.S. sports were playing meaningful games all at once, which was obviously a boon for sportsbooks,” Dustin Gouker, PlayNJ.com’s lead analyst, said in a prepared statement. “The growth seen over the last two months will likely level off once the sports schedule returns to normal. But it’s clear New Jersey’s sports betting industry is setting a new floor.”

Wagers for the month came in at $748.6 million, up 68% from $445.6 million in September 2019 and topping the record $668 million in August. Bets through nine months totaled $3.3 billion, up from $2.96 billion in the first nine months of 2019.

“September’s results hint at a $1 billion month someday soon, which would’ve been impossible to fathom two years ago,” PlayNJ.com analyst Eric Ramsey said in a statement.

The month’s success meant the state’s sportsbooks have topped the $9 billion mark in wagers since the launch of the industry in June 2018.

“New Jersey continues to show its dominance as the No. 1 sports betting destination with a historic milestone of $9 billion bets placed since the state legalized sports wagering in 2018,” Max Bichsel, vice president of U.S. business for the Gambling.com Group, said in a statement. “…  It’s been a roller-coaster year for sports betting, which saw the year start with all-time highs and then death-drop to near zero territory when sports were suspended. Now, we’re back near all-time high revenue numbers.”

September’s bets produced $45.1 million in gross operator revenue, up 14.1% from the year-ago mark, and good for $5.6 million in state taxes, PlayNJ said.

Online bets accounted for 90.7% of September’s handle, or $678.7 million.

“September 2020 was one of the strongest Septembers for Atlantic City casino operators in recent history, surpassing September 2019 by 3% and coming close to the high point set in September 2011,” Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute for Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, said in a statement. “This is a great result during a pandemic with capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements suppressing brick-and-mortar casino revenues.

“Internet gaming and sports wagering have clearly played the biggest part in recent month-over-month increases.”