New Jersey Officially Joins US Sports Betting Industry Carnage Club

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It is no secret that the US legal sports betting industry has taken a shellacking the last month with the global shutdown of sports and the shuttering of all casinos across the country. Many were waiting on the numbers out of New Jersey before calling a "Code Red" for the industry and those figures have finally come. To the shock of nobody, the numbers are grim.

The state of New Jersey currently ranks second in the US in terms of infection and death-rate numbers from the coronavirus. Needless to say, the health of the betting industry isn't paramount at this time. As the most successful bet-friendly state outside of Nevada, New Jersey's figures are critical as a barometer of just where the legal US betting industry stands half-way through the lost month of April. Let's break them down.

 

New Jersey's ascent

New Jersey has been the envy of all states in the Union with a current legal sport betting platform or one looking to launch one of their own. After all, the state took in a combined $1 billion in sports bets in just January and February alone! New Jersey sportsbooks averaged a handle of $515.4 million over the past six months and are officially nipping at Nevada’s heels as the biggest betting state in the US.

“Based on New Jersey’s strong momentum over the last two years, the state would have likely hit an all-time high in sports betting handle and could have topped $600 million,” said Max Bichsel, vice president of U.S. business for Gambling.com Group. The optimism follows the results that have been hitting people in the face for over a year.

The state has been at the forefront of the mobile betting revolution – something that will likely keep their platform afloat during the pandemic and quickly lead New Jersey out of its betting industry hole when everything gets back to normal. It accounted for 89.8% of the total handle in March ($163.4 million of the $181.8 million overall handle), 88.2% of the total handle in February and 85+% of the handles in the three months prior.

 

Now for the descent

After taking in nearly $500 million in February, New Jersey's sportsbooks handle dropped 63.2% to just $181.9 million according to numbers released on Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement - the lowest since $95.6 million in August 2018, the first full month of sports betting in the state. The numbers were down 51% from March of 2019 when the industry was in its relative infancy.

Sports betting revenue for March was $13,181,101 — down 22.5% month-to-month from February 2020 and 58.4% from March 2019 when revenues were at $31.7 million. March saw a decline it its mobile take as well. The mobile numbers were down 62.6% from February when it was responsible for $436,492,186 and they declined 45.2% year-over-year from March 2019 when mobile betting accounted for $298,282,154.

Only $16.7 million in casino taxes in March, compared to $23.1 million in March, 2019.

 

Bottom Line

New Jersey's legal sports betting industry looked as though it couldn't be touched. March Madness was approaching and some thought that Jersey's handle could hit $600 million. Amazing.

The good news is that New Jersey has options thanks to their strong mobile platform. “Online casinos can’t sustain the industry forever, but those with the healthiest online products should be in the best position to emerge from these incredible circumstances,” said Eric Ramsey, an online gaming analyst for PlayNJ.com.

Legal betting will bounce backs. It’s just a matter of when. New Jersey, despite the ugly March numbers and impending crushing April numbers should be among the first to show signs of life. The appetite and the infrastructure were strong before coronavirus. Expect much of the same post-COVID.

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