N.J. sportsbooks near $1B betting mark, PlayNJ says, as ‘handle’ sets yet another record

New Jersey’s sports betting industry continued to thrive in November, according to analysts from PlayNJ, with the state’s sportsbooks topping the $900 million betting mark for the month.

The state’s sportsbooks generated $931 million in wagers for the month, according to official data, breaking the previous record of $803.1 million in October, and representing the fourth straight month the state has set an all-jurisdiction record for “handle,” PlayNJ said. The bets produced $50.6 million in revenue, good for $6.2 million in state taxes — but short of the record $58.5 million in revenue set in October.

“Even if New Jersey can’t quite reach $1 billion in a month before the end of the NFL season, the mere possibility so soon after the industry launched in 2018 would have been close to inconceivable until just a few months ago,” Dustin Gouker, PlayNJ.com’s lead analyst, said in a prepared statement. “The restart of the U.S. sports world after the shutdowns of spring and early summer has fueled online sports betting in ways that would have been hard to predict before this year.”

The handle represented year-over-year growth of 65.6%, up from $562.7 million in wagers in November 2019. Revenue was up 53.7% over the $32.9 million that month, as well.

The NFL led the way for bettors, as football attracted a record $433.3 million in bets, up from $278.9 million in October. Interest came despite a limited college basketball schedule and the absence of winter regulars in the NBA and NHL, which were in an offseason rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the 2019-20 season.

As a result, the second-largest share of wagering came on “other” sports than football, basketball or baseball — even without any hockey being played.

“When the traditional major betting sports went quiet, most of the major online sportsbooks were really good at engaging their customers with an array of offerings, from golf to table tennis,” Eric Ramsey, an analyst with PlayNJ.com, said in a statement. “What is surprising is that those efforts continue to pay dividends even as the major sports have returned.”

Online betting generated 93.6% of the total handle, or $872.1 million, up from 92.6% in October. Retail sportsbooks, open with pandemic-related restrictions, generated $59.5 million in bets, up from $59.2 million in October.

“As good as the online market has been, Atlantic City has been hit hard this year by the pandemic,” Gouker said. “The state’s growth overall over the last few months is almost entirely the product of online sportsbooks. That will continue for the foreseeable future.”

Online casinos and poker rooms fell just short of the first $100 million revenue month, registering $91.8 million in revenue in November, just off the record $93.5 million set in October, but up 86.9% from the year-ago $49.1 million. November’s revenue was good for $13.8 million in state taxes, PlayNJ noted.

“With Atlantic City casinos struggling to remain open during the pandemic, the tax revenue generated by online casino games, in particular, has never been more needed,” Ramsey said. “New Jersey’s online casinos are the envy of every state with legalized online gaming and a model for any state looking to pass legislation in the coming year.”