New Jersey’s robust betting handle in January was a surprise, since that month marked the launch of mobile sports betting in neighboring New York State.
But the February handle also was strong ($985.6 million), and so was March and its Madness at $1.12 billion.
And now that the state Division of Gaming Enforcement released the April figures on Monday, it’s become even clearer that New Jersey is avoiding a major cannibalization of betting handle by New York even though its residents no longer need to cross the Hudson River to bet. So, no 20% to 25% decline after all.
The $926.9 million wagered in New Jersey last month fell short of the billion-dollar numbers produced in September through December 2021 as well as January and March 2022, but it compares favorably to previous years.
In COVID-impacted 2021 and 2020, the April numbers were $748 million and a paltry $54.6 million, respectively. In April 2019, during the first full year of legal wagering, $313.7 million was bet in the state at the various regulated sportsbooks.
The level of awareness among the public about sports betting has produced ever-increasing handles aside from COVID, and New York’s industry-leading wagering volume the last four months is testimony to its residents’ pent-up demand for legal betting by phone and computer.
DGE Director David Rebuck was asked about how New Jersey has been able to maintain its numbers when appearing Monday at the Seton Hall Law School “boot camp” on gaming issues. “I don’t know,” he responded.
A good year for bettors so far
The sportsbooks in New Jersey have achieved a “hold” of just 4.7% in 2022, about two points shy of a typical result.
Basketball bettors have lost a minuscule 1.2% of the $2.05 billion wagered over the past four months. Baseball gamblers also fared relatively well, by losing only 2.1% on $437.2 million in bets.
Another relatively strong number has benefited gamblers — a hold on parlays of 15.3% by the sportsbooks, which sometimes gain a much better advantage from those long-odds wagers.
In the first four months of 2021, the sportsbooks kept 7.4% of wagers, including 18.8% on parlays. In the same period in 2020, bettors surrendered 7.2% of wagers and 18.1% on parlays.
The books won $50.3 million in April and have won $207.8 million so far in 2022, a decline of nearly 15% compared to the first one-third of 2021.
Meanwhile, online casino gaming revenue was reported to be $136.9 million — quite similar to March’s $147 million, February’s $130 million (in only 28 days), and January’s $137.8 million.
As for brick-and-mortar casinos, those properties have $848 million in gaming revenue from the first four months of 2022, which compares favorably to $804.7 million in “normal” 2019 before COVID began impacting retail gaming.
The Atlantic City leader last month, as always, was Borgata at $61.6 million, easily besting runner-up Hard Rock ($40.6 million).
Also worth noting is that Bally’s — which usually trails the field in the monthly reports — beat out both Resorts and Golden Nugget in April with $14.4 million in revenue.
Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com