New Jersey became the first U.S. state to generate more than $1 billion in sports betting in a single month by taking in $1.01 billion in wagers in September. The new high for sports betting came as New Jersey also set a new high for online casino revenue, helping to push New Jersey to the total gaming revenue record ($453.6 million), according to PlayNJ, which tracks gaming developments in the state.
“The state’s gaming industry has seemingly run out of ways to surprise, but sportsbooks reaching $1 billion in monthly handle is a reminder that there is no gaming market in the U.S. that is playing on New Jersey’s level,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayNJ.com. “The relentless growth in online sports betting and casino gaming continues to lift the entire industry.”
According to official reporting released Monday, New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks attracted $1.01 billion in September, breaking the state and U.S. record of $996.3 million that New Jersey set in December 2020. September’s volume was up 35.1% from the $748.6 million generated in September 2020, up 52.1% from $664.7 million in August. (Click here for PlayNJ’s documentary on New Jersey’s path to $1 billion.)
Gross gaming revenue in September just missed an all-time high, too. Operator revenue rose 82.9% to $82.4 million in September from $45.1 million in September 2020 and 58.5% from $52.0 million in August. September’s revenue was just short of the previous high of $82.6 million in January. Sports betting produced $12.1 million in state and local taxes in September.
New Jersey crossing the $1 billion threshold has been a long time coming. Sportsbooks combined to generate at least $930 million in wagering in November, December, and January. Football was the key, generating $400.8 million in wagers on completed events as college football played a full schedule and the NFL returned in September.
“Football wagering is vital in every state where sports betting is legal and necessary for sportsbooks to reach such heights,” said David Danzis, an analyst for PlayNJ.com. “What’s most impressive is just how much New Jersey has evolved into a market with no equals. The Garden State’s 12 highest volume months happen to be the 12 highest volume months in U.S. history. And all of them have come since August 2020.”
Bettors wagered $918.4 million in September through online sportsbooks, representing 90.8% of the statewide handle. That is the second-most all-time. Meadowlands/FanDuel/PointsBet/SuperBook again led the online market with $36.6 million in gross revenue, up from $23.6 million in August.
Retail sportsbooks attracted a record $92.7 million in September, up from $51.8 million in wagers in August. Meadowlands/FanDuel dominated the retail market again with $4.7 million in revenue.
New Jersey sportsbooks have already shattered their annual records for revenue and wagers, producing $558.0 million in revenue on $7.1 billion in wagering through the first nine months of 2021.
“As impressive as September was, New Jersey’s sports betting market hasn’t yet reached its ceiling,” Ramsey said. “The NBA and college basketball seasons could really send wagering into another stratosphere in the coming months.”
Online casinos and poker set fresh record
Online casinos and poker rooms produced a record $122.6 million in gross gaming revenue in September. September’s revenue was up 39.9% from $87.6 million in September 2020, though short of the record $118.7 million set in July. The revenue from online casinos and poker rooms yielded $21.5 million in state and local taxes.
For the year, online casinos and poker rooms have generated $988.7 million, surpassing the previous record of $970.4 million in annual revenue set in all of 2020.
Combined with $248.5 million in retail casino revenue across the state, and September’s online and retail sportsbook revenue, New Jersey’s gaming industry reached $453.6 million for the month. That broke the state’s record for total gaming revenue of $450.6 million, which was set in July.
“Acceptance of online casino gambling accelerated during the pandemic, and it has left the industry with its most consistent revenue driver,” Danzis said. “There was once a fear that online gaming would sap Atlantic City of its appeal. But as retail gaming slowly returns to health, it shows that the industry is stronger with a diverse revenue stream from online and retail casinos and sportsbooks.”
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