One billion dollars in wagers in a month’s time is no longer the impossible dream. Instead, it’s now the standard to aspire to. That’s thanks to the $1 billion handle in September in New Jersey, which was the first in the history of gambling in the United States.
Undoubtedly buoyed by the return of college football and betting on NFL games, this sets up September 2021 to be the busiest month for legal sportsbooks in the US ever. The question now is whether NJ will be able to sustain this level of activity during football season long-term.
New Jersey sports betting handle in September breaks the billion-dollar ice
The NJ Divison of Gaming Enforcement reported the numbers for September 2021 last week. Handle for the month came to $1.011 billion. Nearly 91% of those dollars came from online wagers.
The previous record for NJ sports betting in a month was $996.3 million from December 2020. As far as revenue goes, the state’s legal sportsbooks collected more than $82.44 million in win in September of this year.
While that isn’t a record, it is an improvement of nearly 83% as compared to September 2020. It’s also not far off the state’s record for sportsbook win, which came in January 2021 at $82.6 million.
The Meadowlands Racetrack again lead the way in terms of revenue share, keeping $36.6 million in September. FanDuel Sportsbook, PointsBet Sportsbook, and SuperBook all operate in NJ online under the track’s license.
Football bets accounted for $400.8 million of the total, blowing away all the competition. This keeps New Jersey on the leading edge of sports betting in the US. Is it primed to stay there?
Looming threat to betting revenue across the border
New York has legalized online sports betting, with the possibility of online sportsbooks going live in NY as soon as January 2022. However, that isn’t a firm timeline, right now. There are also questions about how competitive the product will be, at least right off the bat.
The framework of legal online wagering in NY could demand a revenue share plan that is very friendly to the state. In NJ, license holders pay a 13% rate on revenue from online bets. Online sportsbooks in NY could be paying 50% or more of their revenue to the state.
This could affect the product in a couple of ways. First, the sportsbooks might try to account for that with less competitive odds or a diminished variety of betting markets. Another possibility is that NY sportsbooks might spend less on advertising and promotional offers for bettors.
If both or either of those things prove true, then the loss of handle in NJ could be diminished. Currently, estimates suggest that 20%-25% of online bets placed in NJ are New Yorkers crossing the border.
If NJ sportsbooks can provide a better product or come up with reasons for NY residents to keep making the trip, 10-figure handle months during football season might not be so remarkable for the Garden State. Currently, though, it’s a sign of just how fast the industry has grown in NJ.