N.J. sees close to $1B at retail sportsbooks in February; per-day volume reaches new high at online casinos

File photo Atlantic City's casinos had a strong month in September.

February was a big month again for the state’s gaming industry as online and retail sportsbooks took in nearly $1 billion in wagers, a month-to-month increase over January 2022 by 16%, according to Wednesday figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

While a marked improvement month-to-month and year-to-year, February 2022 brick-and-mortar gaming revenues did fall short of February 2020 (just barely pre-pandemic) by 3%.

“Monthly sports betting handle for the state increased over February 2021, but fell below $1 billion for the first time since September 2021. An observed decline in handle from January into February followed a similar pattern to previous years and is not necessarily indicative of increased competition from New York operators,” said Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism, Stockton University School of Business.

New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks attracted $985.6 million in bets in February, which was down 26.9% from the record $1.35 billion in January, according to official reporting released Wednesday. Most telling, though, betting volume was up 32.7% from the $743 million in bets that sportsbooks accepted in February 2021.

Bettors fared well on February’s bets, dropping sportsbook revenue to $30.9 million. That’s down 38.6% from $46.2 million in February 2021 and down 94.8% from $60.2 million in January. The result of February’s win was $4.5 million into state and local taxes.

The Super Bowl was a key driver in February, with a state-record $143.7 million in non-parlay wagering. But, as important as football is, basketball continues to be the lynchpin of New Jersey’s sports betting market. Over the 28 days of February, bettors placed $503.1 million in wagers on basketball, down modestly from $553.7 million over 31 days in January.

Online sportsbooks drew $899.6 million in wagering, or 91.3% of the state’s handle in February. FanDuel/PointsBet/SuperBook generated $14 million in gross revenue, down from $35.5 million in January. DraftKings/Fox Bet/Resorts was No. 2 with $8.6 million in revenue.

Retail sportsbooks lost $1.4 million on their bets. Resorts A.C. topped the market with $451,455 in revenue, a rare win over typical leader Meadowlands/FanDuel, which lost $146,166.

“After two years of pandemic concerns and the increase in competition from New York, New Jersey’s gaming market is stabilizing,” David Danzis, an analyst for PlayNJ.com, said. “Atlantic City casinos are rebounding, while revenue from sportsbooks and online casinos reflect the market’s ‘new normal,’ which is a really good normal. All in all, it was an excellent month for the state.”

Looking forward, Bokunewicz said it is too soon to tell if gas prices and hostilities in Ukraine will have an impact on the brick-and-mortar gaming revenue and visitation to the resort.

“Atlantic City may see an increase in visitation from guests this spring and summer who wish to save gas by traveling to destinations closer to home. Alternatively, rising costs my eventually reduce the amount of discretionary spending by individuals who may decide to limit their gaming and entertainment budgets accordingly,” Bokunewicz said.

Other highlights from February’s report:

  • Borgata led the market with $37.8 million in casino and poker revenue. Golden Nugget was second with $34.6 million and Resorts Atlantic City was No. 3 with $29.9 million.
  • Online casino games produced $127.7 million in revenue, up 39.9% from $91.3 million in February 2021.
  • Online poker generated $2.2 million in revenue, down 10.2% from $2.5 million in February 2021.