It all started with the first bets taken at Monmouth Park Racetrack and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa on June 14, 2018. It’s grown bigger than anyone could have imagined from there–both statewide and in the national scheme of sports betting winners.
The number of retail sportsbooks has blossomed to 10. Plus, NJ sports betting has moved increasingly online. The 14 online and mobile sports betting operators in the state are taking in 80% of the bets.
A whopping $3 billion in bets
NJ regulators released May 2019 handle and revenue figures earlier this week. Making an educated guess as to what the numbers will look like for the first two weeks of June it’s easy to see NJ sportsbooks have taken in around $3 billion in bets in the first year of legal sports betting.
NJ sports betting operators turned that into approximately $200 million in revenue. They also paid $23 million of it in taxes to the state. Everybody won.
Nevada was the only state with full-fledged legal sports betting prior to last year. Putting the NJ numbers into perspective, Nevada posted over $5 billion in handle last year. Nevada sportsbooks turned that into a record $301,048,000 in revenue.
Nevada set its previous sports betting revenue record of $248,777,000 in 2017.
It’s absolutely incredible to see NJ putting up comparable numbers in year one considering Nevada’s almost-90-year head start on legal sports betting.
NJ Sports betting pushing Atlantic City ahead
It has been widely chronicled that online gambling revenue helped turn around a decade of declines in the Atlantic City casino industry. Without a doubt, the launch of NJ sports betting has helped keep the momentum going.
Atlantic City casino revenues rose 7.5% to $2.86 billion in 2018. It marked the third positive year in a row for the industry coming off that decade of declines. The addition of almost $100 million in revenue from just the first six months of NJ sports betting certainly helped.
Plus, 12 months of sports betting should make an even bigger contribution to AC casino revenues this year.
Convincing haters America’s Playground is back
Four years of climbing revenue might even be enough to convince Atlantic City’s largest detractors that America’s Playground is back.
NJ sportsbooks posted underwhelming totals of $320 million in handle and $12.7 million in revenue during the Super Bowl month of February 2019. In fact, NJ sports betting operators claimed they lost some $4.5 million on the Super Bowl alone.
Some haters then suggested this meant AC isn’t ready to be called a sports betting destination just yet. At least not the same way Las Vegas is.
One wonders if the year one NJ sports betting numbers are enough to convince them otherwise. Or does NJ really need to declare June 14 a state holiday first?