New Jersey has its first $1 billion month in sports betting

October 18, 2021 7:41 PM
  • Associated Press
October 18, 2021 7:41 PM
  • Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey’s sports betting industry became the first in the United States to take in more than a billion dollars’ worth of bets in a single month, in September, as football season sent more gamblers to sports books and, crucially, their phones, according to figures released Monday.

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Figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show Atlantic City’s nine casinos and the three racetracks that take sports bets collectively took $1.01 billion worth of wagers on sports last month, setting a new monthly record for both the state and the nation.

Of that lofty total, known as the “handle,” over $82 million was kept by the casinos and tracks as revenue after winning bets and other expenses were paid. The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, near New York City, accounted for half that total.

“New Jersey has always been a strong gaming market,’ said Casey Clark, senior vice president of the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s national trade group. “Crossing the $1 billion handle mark in September is an impressive indicator of the appetite of New Jerseyans and Americans across the country who have embraced legal, regulated sports betting.”

September was a good month for New Jersey’s gambling industry overall, with total casino, internet and sports betting revenue up over 40% from a year ago, to $453.5 million.

New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 clearing the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting, and more than half the country now allows it.

Since then, New Jersey has been near or at the top of the nationwide sports betting industry. The previous national record for the most money bet on sports in a single month also came from New Jersey, which saw $996 million wagered on sports in December 2020.

For the first nine months of this year, New Jersey sports books have taken in over $7 billion worth of bets.

“New Jersey reaped the benefit of being an early adopter of sports betting,” said Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the gambling industry. “By embracing mobile sports books and making sports betting more accessible than even Nevada, New Jersey has now achieved an important milestone of more than $1 billion wagered on sports in a single month.”

The casinos also were pleased with their performance in September. In-person casino revenue was up over 30% to $248.5 million compared with a year ago, and internet gambling was up nearly 40% to $122.5 million.

The Borgata, Atlantic City’s perennial market leader, won more than $111 million from gamblers in September, up nearly 75% from a year earlier. The next closest competitor was Hard Rock at $48.6 million, up nearly 36%.

Tropicana won $34.8 million, up over 33%; the Ocean Casino Resort won $32.1 million, up 8.5%; Harrah’s won $27.8 million, up 42.5%, and Caesars won $21.6 million, up just over 14%.

Resorts won $17.7 million, up over 27%; Bally’s won $14.5 million, up nearly 13% from when it was under different ownership last year; and the Golden Nugget won $13.1 million, up almost 15% from a year ago.

Among internet-only entities, Resorts Digital won $41.5 million, up nearly 68%; Golden Nugget Online Gaming won nearly $31 million, up over 18%, and Caesars Interactive NJ won $10.1 million, up 22%.