N.J.’s sportsbooks register 6-month low in bets, but still soar past year-ago totals

New Jersey’s sportsbooks saw a six-month low in wagering as the sports world settled into the period between the Super Bowl and March Madness, according to analysts from the PlayNJ website.

The state’s sportsbooks took in $743 million for the month, which was well short of January’s $958.7 million take. But it was up more than 50% from the February 2020 results of $494.8 million — a number achieved before the pandemic shut down much of the sports world.

“Even with a slowdown in February, which was expected, New Jersey remains the most fertile online sports betting and online gaming market in the U.S.,” Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com, said in a prepared statement. “February’s results are a reminder, though, that New Jersey’s market is not destined for infinite growth. For the first time since Pennsylvania launched, New Jersey could face increased competition. This time, it’s from New York, its main feeder market, which is pushing ahead on legalization efforts.”

Revenue came in at $46.2 million, up 171.8% from February 2020, but down 48.4% from the record $82.6 million in January. The results were good for $5.7 million in state taxes for the month.

“February handle was down, but the Garden State still held its place as the king of sports betting, with a handle larger than any other state,” Lou Monaco, a sports betting analyst with Gambling.com, said in a statement. “The dip in revenue can be attributed to the lower volume of sports combined with fewer days in the month.”

Super Bowl betting fueled the month’s figures, represented $117.4 million of the $743 million betting total.

“As of right now, New Jersey is playing on a different level than any other state,” Eric Ramsey, a PlayNJ analyst, said in a statement. “That could be particularly apparent in March. March Madness is the largest sports betting holiday of the year, and, in New Jersey, basketball in general tends to draw a lot of action.”

Ramsey said it is possible that March could be the month when the state finally tops the $1 billion sports betting mark.

For February, online betting represented 92.8% of the total handle, and online casinos also registered $93.8 million in revenue for the month — up 80.4% from February 2020, PlayNJ noted.

Retail sportsbooks collected $53.7 million in bets for the month, which was actually less than the amount collected in February 2020.