Good news, bad news month for New Jersey gaming sector

It was a good news, bad news kind of month as sports betting had its typical slow July, but New Jersey’s gaming outlets set a record for revenue in a month, according to gaming analytical firm PlayNJ.

The state relied on solid sports betting numbers, a monthly record for online gambling and strong results in Atlantic City to set that record, the firm noted.

Online and retail sportsbooks took in $578.7 million in bets for the month, down 24.5% from June, according to official data. However, July 2021 was up 83.7% from July 2020, which saw the relaunch of baseball and the NBA “bubble” after the initial wave of COVID-19. The July total was well below the previous 2021 low, February’s $743 million handle.

“Atlantic City benefits from a boost in summer tourism, but July is a time when summer travel and busy schedules put online sports betting in the backseat, particularly for locals,” David Danzis, lead analyst for, said in a prepared statement. “In the end, online casino gaming, retail casinos and online and retail sports betting work as a three-legged stool, and together they are helping the New Jersey gaming industry outperform most every market in the U.S.”

Overall, sports betting produced $8.3 million in state and local taxes in July.

“With July sports betting handle and revenue numbers showing decreases for the second straight month, sports betting should be getting a big boost in the Garden State very soon,” Lou Monaco, sports betting analyst with Group, said in a statement. “With Major League Baseball in the thralls of pennant races, NFL preseason starting and college football kicking off in two weeks, the start of a huge stretch of monthly increases is around the corner.”

Online casinos and poker rooms avoided any slowdown, however, posting a record $118.7 million in gross gaming revenue for the month, up 35.7% from July 2020.

“July 2021 continued a pattern of growth for Atlantic City’s casino operators overall,” Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, said in a statement. “For the fifth month in a row, land-based gaming revenues increased month-to-month, with July 2021 exceeding June 2021 by 29%.

“A year since reopening post-pandemic, land-based casino revenues for the city have finally returned to pre-pandemic levels.”