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New Jersey sportsbook revenues fall, online casinos boom in March

15 Apr 2020

(PRESS RELEASE) -- New Jersey’s retail and online sportsbooks took in a third of the expected handle in March, while online casinos and poker rooms boomed to unseen heights. In all, New Jersey’s sportsbooks lost out on nearly $370 million in sports wagers in March, according to PlayNJ estimates, while online casino and poker revenue smashed the previous record with $64.8 million in revenue.

“Shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic are affecting New Jersey’s gaming industry in ways that are unprecedented, and that will continue until the country begins to return to some semblance of normalcy,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for “New Jersey’s online casinos are a boon to the gaming industry, which employs thousands and generates millions in tax revenue for the state. But it’s not enough to fully bridge the gap from the revenue lost from sportsbooks and Atlantic City’s land-based casinos.”

New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks appeared to be headed for a month of $550 million in wagers. Instead, sportsbooks collected just $181.9 million in bets, according to official reporting released Wednesday. In an industry that has seen consistent year-over-year growth of 50% or more, March’s handle was down 51% from the $372.5 million handle posted in March 2019 and down 63% from $494.8 million in February 2020. March’s handle, which pushed New Jersey sportsbooks past $7 billion in lifetime wagers, was the smallest since sportsbooks collected $95.6 million in August 2018.

New Jersey sportsbooks did manage to produce $13.2 million in gross revenue, yielding $1.7 million in tax revenue for the state. But revenue was down 58% from $31.7 million in March 2019.

Most came from bets made before 11 March, when the NBA suspended its season and sent a wave of cancelations through the sports world. That left bettors with just a handful of international events and futures betting, mostly on the NFL. The most significant loss for bettors was the NCAA Tournament, one of the nation’s most important sports betting holidays, which would have generated more than $150 million in New Jersey alone, according to estimates.

“With the NCAA Tournament, NBA, and opening of the baseball season canceled or postponed, the loss of March revenue will not be something that New Jersey sportsbooks can make up,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for “Until sports are able to get going again, New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks will continue to be uncomfortably quiet.

Online betting generated 89.9%, or $163.4 million, of the state’s handle in March. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet led online sportsbooks with $5.7 million in gross revenue, down from $9.6 million in February. FanDuel was followed in revenue by:

- Resorts Digital/DraftKings/Fox Bet ($5.1 million, up from $4 million in February).

- Monmouth/William Hill/Sugarhouse/TheScore ($849,236, down from $1.3 million)

- BetMGM/Borgata ($609,235, down from $1 million)

- Ocean Casino/William Hill ($635,620, up from $168,015)

- Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($167,314, up from $96,397)

- Golden Nugget/BetAmerica ($143,209, down from $308,997)

- Caesars Sportsbook/888sport ($44,413, up from $34,183)

- Tropicana/William Hill ($17,180, down from $30,558)

FanDuel Sportsbook at The Meadowlands led the retail market with $233,360 in gross revenue, down from $1.4 million in February. FanDuel was followed in gross revenue by:

- Tropicana Atlantic City Casino & Resort ($42,081, down from $91,899)

- Monmouth Park (-$196, up from -$51,888)

- Bally's - Atlantic City (-$6,654, down from $32,199)

- Golden Nugget - Atlantic City (-$10,348, up from -$135,314)

- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Atlantic City (-$32,854, down from $19,294)

- Harrah's Resort Atlantic City (-$39,058, down from $41,649)

- Ocean Resort Casino (-$68,436, up from -$65,868)

- Resorts Casino Hotel (-$93,821, down from $47,143)

- Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa (-$122,207, up from -$318,896)

“Professional leagues are trying to figure out a way to get back out on the field, which is the good news,” Gouker said. “The bad news is there is no way to know when that will be, and it doesn’t appear that it will be particularly soon. This is going to be a long road, not just for sportsbooks, but for everybody.”

Online casinos and poker set new records

Online casinos tell a much different story. With Atlantic City casinos closed and workers sent home across the state, New Jersey’s online casinos and poker rooms shattered their previous revenue record by generating $64.8 million in March. That is up 18% from the previous record of $55.1 million set in January, and up 66% from $39.1 million in March 2019.

Poker, which has languished for years in New Jersey, produced $3.6 million in revenue in March, beating the previous record of $3.1 million set in October 2016. Online casino games easily topped their previous best, too, generating $61.2 million to surpass the record $53.3 million produced in January.

Before March, only online market leader Golden Nugget had ever produced more revenue with its online gambling products than its Atlantic City casino in the same month. The Golden Nugget easily did so again with a record-setting $21.3 million in revenue, and the casino brand for Resorts AC ($13.5 million) did so for the first time. Borgata ($12.2 million) led the remaining list of other online casinos that topped previous bests.

“With Atlantic City casinos closed and sports on hiatus, the importance of online gambling and poker to the state’s gaming industry has never been greater,” Ramsey said. “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. And the tax revenue from online casinos is welcome when so much pressure has been put on the state budget.”

Online casinos and poker generated a record $2.1 million per day during the 31 days in March. That revenue yielded $9.7 million in state taxes.
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