New Jersey February Sports Betting Numbers A Mixed Bag

The state of New Jersey's legal and regulated sportsbooks had a solid month of February, but the results could have been much better.
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New Jersey’s legal sports betting operators cleaned up on wagering on the Oscars in February – but got burned by Super Bowl bettors.

And since the latter drew a lot more action than the former, that helped produce a drop in gross revenues for the books as well as a decline in handle.

Still, the books took in $320.4 mm in bets, a figure virtually identical to December, and only about $10 mm off from November – in spite of the fact that February has fewer days. The outlier, so far, is January and its record $385.3 mm in handle.

Recent figures suggest that New Jersey books could take in about $4 billion in bets in 2019 – the state’s first full year of legal wagering on sports – with perhaps $200 mm or so in industry gross revenues.

Mobile sports betting in the state accounted for a record 80.8% of all wagering, a figure which may or may not be noted by legislators in many other states who have seemed reluctant to veer from a straight brick-and-mortar casino and/or racetrack plan.

Apparently the house doesn’t always win

Several operators reported losses on sports betting for the month, many thanks in part to that $4.6 mm loss on the Super Bowl on wagers of $34.9 mm (the Oscars produced almost $200k in revenue on $750k worth of bets – a remarkable 24.4% hold that may have been aided by some inaccurate social media buzz about Best Director).

Borgata led the way with $756k in sports betting losses, followed by Golden Nugget ($125k), Harrah’s ($96k), and Tropicana ($58k).

The biggest winners? The Meadowlands Racetrack, which has online partners FanDuel and PointsBet, collected $8.1 mm to account for about two-thirds of the state’s total sportsbook revenues.

Most of the rest came from Resorts Digital, the casino’s online arm featuring DraftKings as well as BetStarsNJ, and now a Resorts mobile site. The trio took in $3.7 mm. Monmouth Park, which has William Hill as an online partner, collected $775k to nose out Ocean Resort ($750k) for third place.

The February on-site handle of just $61 mm is the lowest since the rollout of legal sports betting at multiple casinos and racetracks last summer – likely a reflection, in part, of wintry weather turning some potential visitors into at-home players.

Basketball a popular play

So far bettors this year not only have risked more money on basketball – $287 mm – but they also have returned only a 3.7% edge to the “house.”

Football bettors have fared slightly worse, dropping 4.6% on wagers of $112 mm.

The sportsbook favorite, as usual, is multi-team parlay bets with a return of 11.2% on a healthy $124 mm handle.

Second place in handle, though, goes to “Other” at $181 mm and a win for the books at 3.6%. European soccer, pro golf, tennis, NHL, and other sports all factor into that calculation.

Sports wagering revenue trailed brick-and-mortar Atlantic City casino revenues of $197 mm and online casino gaming revenues of $32 mm.


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