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New Jersey Sports Betting Scene Continues to be the Gold Standard

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New Jersey Sports Betting Scene Continues to be the Gold Standard
Men place their bets at the Monmouth Park Sports Book in Oceanport, New Jersey. (Photo by Dominick Reuter / AFP)

It has become a monthly right-of-passage for the US legal sports betting industry to wait on the monthly numbers out of New Jersey as a barometer as to just where the industry as a whole stands. The figures released Wednesday once again point to a National platform that is in great shape as we head into 2021.

New Jersey continues to set the pace with regard to its monthly sports betting handle with second-place not even close. The Empire State posted yet another monthly sports betting handle record in December and ended 2020 with an almost unfathomable number of legal sports bets.

About Those Numbers

There had been some optimism in New Jersey that its state’s sportsbooks would hit the magical $1 billion mark for wagers taken in for December. While not quite reaching that number, a figure of $996,300,794 for December is still an incredible feat, and took the yearly handle to over $6 billion. This despite months of COVID-related global sports shutdowns and its resulting casino capacity limits.

December was the second straight month that New Jersey’s sports betting figures eclipsed the $900 million mark. In November, sportsbooks reported $931.6 million in wagers, about 6.9% lower than they did in December.

Mobile sports betting apps continued its dominance of the overall handle in December, contributing a record-$929.3 million or 93.3% of the $996,300,794 handle. That represents a 6.6% increase over November’s then-record $872 million mobile haul.

Revenues Increase Too

The US legal sports betting industry has seen state revenues not exactly following the path of record-December handles. Bettors from states that have reported their December figures so far have shown sportsbooks revenues dipping a bit on the heels of bettors’ win rate increases.

But New Jersey bucked the trend in December and actually reported a revenue-rise for the month of December. The Garden State sportsbooks made $66.4 million in December which represents a noteworthy 31.3% increase from November’s $50.6 million in revenues. $7.6 million in taxes was paid to the state.

Yearly total and year-over-year spikes

A year-end peek at the numbers reported over a 365-day period shows just how far the New Jersey legal sports betting industry came in 2020, despite the limitations presented it by COVID-19. For the year, the Garden State’s sportsbooks took in $6,017,707,104, a 30.4% increase over 2019 when it saw a still-impressive $4,582,941,931 in bets.

$5.53 billion or about 92% was wagered online and revenues for the entire year came in at $398.5 million.

When looking at how the numbers over 12-months did, we saw incredible growth for the platform. December’s 2019’s legal sports betting handle came in at $557.8 million while the 2020 December take was $996,300,794 – a 78.6% year-over-year increase. Revenues over the same period went from $29.4 million in December, 2019 to $66.4 million last month – a 125.6% spike.

Football Rules

December, unsurprisingly saw Football bring in the most money, although for the first time in a few months, there was another sport that was a major contributor to the overall handle.

Football was responsible for $323 million in bets, followed by basketball with $253 million and Parlays which accounted for $223 million in handle. December was the last of the unique months in which only one of the four major North American sports was in action for the bulk of the month.

To Start 2021…

The NFL will continue to lead the way as far as the record handles go. But basketball, both college and pro should start making more of a contribution. The NHL will also start to have an effect on sportsbooks.

Plus, there are some new betting provider names coming to the New Jersey market. Australian-based sportsbook PlayUp will bring its betting platform to the New Jersey market in the first part of 2021. Also Tipico, Germany’s sports betting behemoth will also launch in the next couple of months, giving the legion of bettors in New Jersey some new options.

Will January be the month that New Jersey finally hits the $1 billion mark? With the bulk of the bread-and-butter NFL winding down, it looks as though this month could be the last chance before the late summer/fall months to eclipse that mark.

If New Jersey has taught us one thing, it’s that we can’t count out the Empire State to set another sports betting handle record. As always, the entire US industry will be waiting eagerly for New Jersey regulators to report out on January’s legal sports betting haul.