N.J. sportsbooks continue upward momentum despite increased competition from nearby areas

 Online casinos set another revenue record in March

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

The NCAA Tournament helped fuel $1.1 billion in wagers at New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks, while online casinos set a state record in March for monthly revenue with more than $140 million, according to figures released Monday.

New Jersey’s sportsbooks could have even taken in even more, with Jersey City-based Saint Peter’s historic run to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight. Local bettors had plenty of motivation to place a wager on March Madness, but with the state’s ban on wagering on in-state college teams, those wagers ended up with sportsbooks in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

“With Saint Peter’s off the boards, a small chunk of in-state wagering flowed out of New Jersey and into neighboring states,” David Danzis, an analyst for PlayNJ.com, said. “That hasn’t happened much in the history of New Jersey’s gaming industry. But it shows that decisions made in the past can affect the state’s sportsbooks now that they find themselves in a more competitive environment.”

“In a changing landscape, New Jersey’s sportsbooks were still able to post their best handle in a month without football,” Danzis said. “Increased competition from New Jersey’s neighbors is inevitably going to affect the state’s sportsbooks, but it continues only to be at the margins. The state’s own bettors have proven a powerful force on their own.”

March’s figures show that wagers are up 30.7% from $859.6 billion in March 2021 and up 13.7% from $985.6 billion in February. New Jersey sportsbooks have now taken in $25.6 billion in wagers since New Jersey was among the first in the U.S. to launch sports betting in 2018.

The NCAA Tournament was the main draw in March. Basketball betting — which includes the NBA as well as men’s and women’s college basketball — attracted $667.3 million in straight wagers. That was up 51.1% from $441.7 million in March 2021 and up 32.6% from $503.1 million over the 28 days of February.

Online sportsbooks attracted $1.04 billion in wagers, or 92.9% of the state’s March handle. FanDuel/PointsBet/SuperBook topped the online market with $33.7 million in gross revenue, up from $14 million in February. DraftKings/Fox Bet/Resorts followed with $8.6 million in revenue.

Meanwhile, retail sportsbooks won $5.2 million on $79.5 million in bets. Meadowlands/FanDuel regained its retail market perch with $3.2 million in revenue.

Online casinos and poker

New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms continued surging in March, crossing the $140 million threshold for the first time with a record $140.7 million in online gambling revenue. March’s win was up 23.7% from the then-record $113.7 million in March 2021 and up 8.2% from $130 million in February.

For the first time in years, a monthly record in New Jersey wasn’t also a U.S. record. Pennsylvania announced earlier on Monday that its online casinos and poker rooms had won $142.7 million in March.

Over the 31 days of March, online casinos and poker rooms averaged $4.5 million in revenue per day. That was down from $4.6 million per day over the 28 days of February. Ultimately, March’s revenue generated $24.6 million in state and local taxes.

The continued race for market share was led again in March by Borgata, which generated a record $41.4 million in casino and poker revenue. Golden Nugget was second, with $38.3 million, and Resorts Atlantic City was No. 3, with $30.8 million.

Other highlights from March’s report:

  • Online casino games produced $138.1 million in revenue, up 24.5% from $111 million in March 2021.
  • Online poker generated $2.5 million in revenue, down 6.3% from $2.7 million in March 2021.

Brick-and-mortar casinos

Total single-month revenue for Atlantic City casino operators in March 2022 ($382.9 million) improved in February 2022 ($356.7 million) by 7%, but outperformed pre-pandemic March 2019 ($273.7 million) by 40%.

Brick-and-mortar revenues for the month ($216.6 million) unfortunately tell a slightly different story, improving on February 2022 but falling short of March 2019 ($223.2 million).

“With such a strong start to the year, we have every reason, barring as yet unforeseen complications, to expect 2022 to set new near-term records for total annual gross gaming revenue,” Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University School of Business, said.

“However, operators may still struggle to gain ground on pre-pandemic 2019 in terms of brick-and-mortar gaming revenues. Market pressures such as gas prices likely had an impact on March 2022 totals, which fell short of 2019. In comparison, January and February 2022 each exceeded 2019 single month brick-and-mortar revenue totals.”