For the first time, New Jersey bettors placed legal wagers on the Super Bowl. But the day after, numbers tell the story of a Sunday that, much like the game itself, simply did not live up to its hype.
Based on numbers released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement on Monday afternoon, it seems NJ sports betting also fell short of expectations.
DGE figures show that New Jersey sportsbooks took a $4.5 million loss for the night.
According to the release, preliminary statistics reported by Atlantic City casinos, NJ racetracks and online sportsbooks took in $34,894,900 on Super Bowl wagers with a total sportsbook payout of $39,469,147.
Breaking it down, the total loss comes out to $4,574,274, or a negative hold percentage of 13.11 percent.
1. Books had $4.5 million loss on the game? Yikes.
2. This is a crazy small number to me. Super Bowl handle in Nevada is generally 30-40% of handle for the month. So either a. NJ is not as event driven or b. Feb numbers are gonna be pretty low.
3. Still lots of room to grow. https://t.co/Kf8EUzk1Vr
— Dustin Gouker (@DustinGouker) February 4, 2019
NJ Super Bowl betting picture
When looking at the NJ sports betting picture as a whole, there were no shortage of options for placing a bet.
The combined Super Bowl revenue numbers include eight retail sportsbooks operating in Atlantic City along with ones at the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park.
There are an additional 12 mobile/online sportsbooks operational in the Garden State. The newest, BetAmerica, operated by Churchill Downs Inc. (via the Golden Nugget license), had its soft launch on Saturday.
Besides the loss, the fact that total handle didn’t even reach $40 million shows that the first Super Bowl Sunday with legal sports betting was not so super.
FanDuel Sportsbook, by itself, suffered an “estimated net loss” of $5 million.
A significant portion of that hit was a result of free bets. FanDuel offered customers a 53-to-1 odds on a moneyline bet. It didn’t matter if bettors sided with the Patriots or Rams.
The Patriots also ended up easily covering the 2.5-point spread.
William Hill weighs in on Super Bowl 2019
London-based William Hill (Caesars Sportsbook NJ) is another one of the big players on the NJ sports betting scene with retail locations at Monmouth Park, Ocean Resort Casino (Caesars NJ) and Tropicana.
The company has a William Hill-branded sports betting app, too.
Michael Grodsky, vice president of marketing at William Hill US, said the company experienced a modest loss out East (compared to a modest win out West). But in terms of the company’s Atlantic City properties, there was little doubt that NJ sports betting is the hot new attraction.
More from Grodsky:
“In New Jersey specifically, you could really see the ancillary benefits of sports betting at our retail locations. The crowds were awesome. At Ocean Resort, there were thousands of people that attended their big game events.”
Steve Callender, general manager of Tropicana Atlantic City, said that the William Hill Sports Book at Tropicana had its biggest day thus far.
“Sports betting drove new business to the property, and the casino was busy all day long. Tropicana’s four sports bars also had banner days.”
New Jersey vs. Nevada? Too soon for comparisons
Comparing the Atlantic City sports betting scene to the one in Las Vegas is an unfair matchup.
But the Las Vegas market does set the bar in terms of Super Bowl sports betting handle. Like New Jersey, the returns from Sunday night could’ve easily been much more profitable.
According to reports, Nevada sportsbooks took in $146 million on Super Bowl 2019 wagers. That’s more than four times the amount wagered in New Jersey. But it marks an 8 percent decline for the Super Bowl.
Keep in mind, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were among the new states to go live with legalized sports betting in the last year.
In New Jersey, big event sports betting is just getting started. The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, taking place less than two months from now, will likely be another huge draw.