The best indication yet that the legal sports betting industry in the US has turned a COVID-19 corner came Monday with news that the state of New Jersey set a new national record for wagers in a month, eclipsing the $614.1 million that Nevada took in in November, 2019. Thanks to an incredible $670 million haul for the New Jersey in August, the Garden State has now surpassed a stunning $8 billion in bets since sports betting became legal there in 2018.
New Jersey has always been in the top tier of bet-friendly states but August’s handle cemented their status as one of the top-two in the nation. The $670 million handle came in an astounding $100 million over that state’s previous record of $562.7 million in November, despite their bread-and-butter NFL not having played a snap. Pent-up demand and a full menu of sports to wager on definitely propped up what has become the most reliable market in the US and with September adding the NFL to the mix, the August record could be short-lived.
A Closer Look at the Figures
Between the somewhat limited retail (casinos are operating at 25% capacity) and the full-on mobile legal betting platforms, New Jersey took in an impressive $667.98m in wagers in August which represents a 112% increase for the $315.1 million handle in July and an increase of 127.5% year-over-year from August, 2019.
Gross revenues for August in New Jersey came in at $39.5 million, a 56.7% increase from July, 2019 and a huge jump from July of this year. It all added up to a much-needed $4.9 million in tax revenue for a state that had been decimated by COVID-19.
Reasons for the Surge
The presence of three of the four major North American sports operating in unison was a huge catalyst for the record haul. Basketball accounted for $166.2 million of the record handle, Baseball was responsible for $150 million and the “other” category that includes the NHL, MMA and golf among others, contributed $204.9 million.
A robust mobile betting platform was a key driver in New Jersey strong rebound in August. Although the contributions from online sites dropped for 93.9% in July, betting sites still managed to bring in 90.1% of New Jersey’s August haul. More retail betting openings and more confidence in heading to retail casinos were cited as reasons for the slight decrease in mobile but the increase in the overall sports betting handle.
“New Jersey’s robust and mature online market is a clear advantage over every other jurisdiction, including Nevada, which relies more on in-person betting,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ. “A full schedule of major sports in August, generating huge interest, has only highlighted the fact that New Jersey is better positioned to withstand the challenges of the pandemic.”
New Jersey Poised to Overtake Nevada
New Jersey has been nipping at Nevada’s heel for a year now in regards to their monthly totals, even eclipsing their rival during 5 of the last 16 months. You can thank the gulf that exists between the two’s internet betting capabilities for New Jersey’s rise to the top of the US legal sports betting ladder.
Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com recently commented that: “New Jersey’s sports betting market has proven resilient since the pandemic began, drawing more bettor interest since March than any other US jurisdiction. With major sports back on the board, though, the state’s sportsbooks are showing shocking strength.”
Looking forward to September
There is a realistic chance that New Jersey’s record in August may be short-lived. After all, last month’s record came without the NFL yet to play a down. September will see a full slate of NFL games, the NBA and NHL Playoffs and the stretch drive of the MLB season which represents an unprecedented time for bettors across the country.
New Jersey’s potential is being realized before out very eyes. We will all be waiting with eager anticipation to see what the state will generate in September.