After Legalizing Sports Betting, NJ & PA Hit Record Online Gambling Revenues

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Latest monthly figures from gaming regulators in Pennsylvania and New Jersey report staggering growth.

New Jersey sports betting handle reached over $250 million for the first time. Pennsylvania hit almost $60 million in only its second complete month of legal online sports betting.

The figures will give confidence to other states embarking on their own legal sports betting journey. But there are big lessons in these numbers that other states should consider carefully.

But first, each state’s numbers in detail.

New Jersey sees growth in every online vertical

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) figures showed revenue growth in online poker, online casino and online sports betting.

Online poker is the big under-performer in terms of pre-legalization revenue estimates.

Some analysts expected poker to account for the same revenue as online casino. The reality is that poker is pulling in only 3.3 percent of total online gaming revenues. Nevertheless, it is growing, even if only by 2.2 percent.

Online casino revenue is rocking. Before sports betting launched in New Jersey online casino revenue was fairly flat.

My colleague Eric Ramsey pointed out on OnlinePokerReport how significant the launch of sports betting was for online casino:

“NJ online gambling revenue had leveled off around the $20 million plateau 18 months ago, seemingly approaching its ceiling. The addition of legal sports betting in mid-2018, however, coincides with a remarkable surge.”

The surge amounts to 55.6 percent year on year growth with revenues now up to $37.4 million.

Sports betting’s record quarter of a billion in handle produced record revenue of $17.9 million, and $13.9 million of that came from online.

Online sports betting accounted for 84.8 percent of the total handle and 77.8 percent of the revenue.

Summary of NJ revenue figures

  • Poker Revenue–$1,886,918 (+2.1 percent year-on-year)
  • Casino Revenue–$37,428,813 (+55.6 percent year-on-year)
  • Sports Betting Revenue–$17,884,790 combined retail and online (No comparative figures available—total June/July sports betting revenue live and online was $3.8 million)

New Jersey top casinos

Online Poker

The partnership between 888 and Caesars continues to produce the highest online poker revenues. They recorded $815,836 for July. Former market leader PokerStars trailed with $626,272 from its partnership with Resorts.

Online Casino

The Golden Nugget/Betfair partnership continues to dominate online casino. Revenues of a whisker under $14.9 million give it a market share of 39.8 percent.

Their nearest competitor is the Resorts/Stars Group partnership which produced less than half the Nugget’s revenues at $6.24 million.

Online Sports Betting

FanDuel remains the online market leader. The DGE reports aggregate figures from the partner casino, Meadowlands and its other online partner PointsBet. The total July revenue came in at $7,323,483, the vast majority of this from FanDuel.

DraftKings was first to market but lost its crown to FanDuel. Together with partners Resorts Casino and BetStars, it pulled in $3,721,550.

The two former DFS operators with their Jersey partners have a lock on almost 80 percent of the online sports betting market.

Pennsylvania sports betting starts strong for SugarHouse

July is only the second full month of legal online sports betting for Pennsylvania. Not all online sportsbooks have been running for the whole period, so record figures are likely to be the norm for the next few months.

Total sports betting handle was $59.3 million for July. Online sports betting recorded $38.9 million in handle, 65.6 percent of the total. As more online sportsbooks get into their stride that revenue split should move closer to the 85 percent we see in New Jersey.

FanDuel only opened its online sportsbook for the last nine days of July. Even so it looks set to challenge for market share the way it has in New Jersey.

Over those nine days, FanDuel racked up $3.3 million in handle. That implies a full month wagering rate of $11.4 million, a great start by any standards.

The target FanDuel is aiming for is set by current market leader SugarHouse. Its total handle came in at $26.4 million with around $22 million wagered online.

SugarHouse owner Rush Street Gaming also owns the Rivers Casino operation. It generated handle of $14.3 million of which $9.9 million came from the online sportsbook.

Online casino and poker have yet to get off the ground, but figures for these will start to come in over the next month or two.

Grand totals for Pennsylvania came in at:

  • Sports betting handle–$59,331,959
  • Revenue–$5,079,633
  • Gross revenue taxable–$2,852,137 (this is revenue minus promotional credits, more comparable to NJ revenue figures)

Lessons for other sports betting states

There’s an obvious track across from the revenue figures in New Jersey to forecasts for other states.

A simple estimate based on relative population size provides a baseline revenue forecast for what other states can expect from legal sports betting.

However, New Jersey has legalized online poker and online casino games as well as sports betting. This is an advantage.

States that only allow sports betting will have more difficulty attracting customers away from offshore online sites that offer a full range of gambling options.

New Jersey highlights the cross-sell power that legal sports betting has brought to the online casino space. Revenues were flat until the state legalized sports betting. Now they are growing strongly.

Correlation isn’t causation, but operators are touting their increased online casino revenues as the result of cross-selling to new sports betting customers.

The second big message from these figures is the importance of online sports betting. States like New York that have live sports betting but have yet to authorize online sports betting are missing up to 80 percent of the market.

That 80 percent isn’t sitting at home playing video games. It is betting on sports, but using illegal offshore operators rather than state-licensed companies.

If the aim of legalizing sports betting is to improve consumer protection the evidence shows clearly that the best results come from legalizing online casino and poker at the same time. And of course, making sure that online sports betting is available on mobile devices.

Joss Wood

About

Joss Wood writes for a number of publications in the online gambling sphere. With a special focus on international markets, he writes for LegalSportsReport.com, OnlinePokerReport.com, and others. He also centers on sports betting, esports betting, and the emergent regulated US online gambling industry.

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