The volume at New Jersey’s sportsbooks grew to more than $664 million in August, the beginning of what will be a surge this fall that could make the state the first to reach $1 billion in wagering over a single month. This while New Jersey’s online casinos posted a near-record month in August to draw closer to becoming the first state to generate $1 billion in annual Internet gaming revenue, according to PlayNJ, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.
“The state’s online casinos continue to churn out $100 million-plus revenue months, month after month, and August’s growth shows just a hint of what is to come for sports betting,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayNJ.com. “Now the state’s sportsbooks and online casinos are both poised to reach heights that not long ago were thought to be impossible.”
Online and retail sportsbooks took in $664.7 million in bets in August, down 0.5% from $668.0 million in August 2020 and up 14.9% from the 2021 low of $578.7 million hit in July, according to official data released Thursday. Sportsbooks have now generated $6.1 billion in wagers in 2021, topping the $6.0 billion handle produced in all of 2020.
Gross gaming revenue in August grew 31.7% to $52.0 million from $39.5 million in August 2020. Revenue did slide 5.4% from July’s 55.0 million in revenue. August’s revenue generated $7.9 million in state and local taxes.
Baseball drew $248.0 million in wagering on completed events, up from $195.4 million in July. Meanwhile, football drew $27.4 million in bets with a light inventory of games.
With a full slate of college football games and the first weeks of the NFL season, New Jersey’s sportsbooks could push toward $1 billion in wagering in September. In December 2020, bettors placed $996.3 million in wagers, the last full month of regular season NFL games.
“With only a few college and NFL preseason games, August still showed the outsized effect football has on the sports-betting industry,” said Valerie Cross, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “Even if September falls short of $1 billion in wagering, we will likely get there before the end of the year.”
$612.9 million in August’s wagers were made online. Meadowlands/FanDuel/PointsBet/SuperBook led the online market with $23.6 million in gross revenue.
Retail sportsbooks attracted $51.8 million in August. Meadowlands/FanDuel again topped all retail sportsbooks with $3.2 million in revenue.
“This is the beginning of a pivotal time for sportsbook operators not only for revenue generation, but as the primary method for sportsbooks to grow their base,” Cross said. “Operators are pouring millions into promotional offerings and advertising around football to help gain greater market share. But FanDuel has proven to be the single most dominant force among New Jersey sportsbooks, and that is unlikely to change this fall.”
Online casinos and poker
Online casinos and poker rooms generated $113.2 million in gross gaming revenue in August, a 29.0% gain from $87.8 million in August 2020 though short of the record $118.7 million in July. Online casino games accounted for $110.8 million of August’s revenue, up 30.7% from $84.7 million in August 2020.
Online casinos and poker rooms have produced $866.1 million in revenue for the year. That puts the industry on pace to surpass the record $970.4 million in annual revenue set in all of 2020 by October, and surpass $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time.
“This year’s revenue could end up nearly tripling the revenue gained in all of 2019, which is remarkable to think about,” Ramsey said. “The behavior change we saw last year appears long-lasting, and perhaps even permanent. While there are some bumps in the road ahead for sports betting, including increased competition from neighbors, it appears there is not much that will slow down online casinos.”