March’s New Jersey sports betting handle came in at $181.9 million. It’s a significant drop from the nearly half-billion in bets reported in February.

But the numbers released earlier today from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement does not come as a surprise.  The pro and college sports markets have been sidelined since mid-March as a result of the coronavirus and social distancing.

Sports wagering gross revenue came in at $13.2 million, which is down 58.4% from the same period last year. Again, limited options are to blame.

Total gaming revenue was down 44.4%, which is the direct result of the Atlantic City casinos being forced to close on March 16.

Internet gaming revenue was the only big winner of the month with a record of $64.8 million. And that reflects a 65.6% year-over-year increase.

The impact of no March Madness betting

March is known for being one of the biggest NJ sports betting months as it includes the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Last year, the first in which March Madness betting was legal, handle came in at $372 million. Revenue was $31.7 million, which was a record at the time.

There was talk that the tournament would still go on without fans, but the NCAA ended up canceling the event before some of the conference tournaments even got underway.

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FanDuel + DraftKings lead the field of 17

Looking closer at the figures, it’s one of those months where there isn’t much to highlight. As expected, the majority of the bet slips came in via the 17 NJ mobile apps.

Retail sportsbook revenue came in at a combined loss of $93,821, which is a direct result of shutting down the same day as the casinos and racetracks.

Mobile handle accounted for $163.4 million of the betting action.

FanDuel Sportsbook still led the field. The operator took in the bulk of the $5.9 million reported by the Meadowlands Racetrack. PointsBet NJ falls under the license, too.  But the number is a huge drop from the $17.6 million earned during the same period last year.

Resorts Digital, which includes DraftKings SportsbookFox Bet NJ, and the Resorts-branded app, finished a close second with $5.1 million. DK customers account for the majority of that number.

The full NJ sports betting story

Garden State bettors spent half of March social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of the sportsbooks started thinking outside the box (i.e., Tom Brady and table tennis), it wasn’t enough to offset the reality of no real sports.

Here is the breakdown by license holder:

Property (Online)Online RevenueRetail RevenueMarch Total
TOTAL$13,279,233($98,132) $13,181,101
Bally's (Caesars, 888)$44,413 ($6,654)$37,759
Borgata (BetMGM, Borgata Sports)$609,235($122,207)$487,028
Golden Nugget (BetAmerica, GN Online)$143,209 ($10,348)$132,861
Hard Rock (Hard Rock online, Bet365 NJ, Unibet)$167,314 ($32,854)$134,460
Harrah's---($39,058)($39,058)
Meadowlands (FanDuel, PointsBet)$5,676,337$233,360$5,909,697
Monmouth (William Hill, SugarHouse, TheScore Bet) $849,236 ($196)$849,040
Ocean Resort (William Hill)$635,620($68,436)$567,184
Resorts (DraftKings, Fox Bet, Resorts Online)$5,136,690($93,821)$5,042,869
Tropicana (William Hill)$17,180 $42,081$59,261
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MLB, NFL and NBA will eventually return

Don’t expect the NJ sports betting numbers to be any better for April.

Unlike March, there will be a full month of no college or pro sports. This includes the NCAA Final Four and The Masters, the latter of which has been delayed until November.

The DGE has approved other options. Of course, these new offerings will not come close to matching the NBAMLB or NFL betting markets.

In the short term, NFL Draft betting will close out April. It should attract significant betting action being the lone major pro sports event taking place this month.

As far as if, and when, live games will be back, your guess is as good as ours.

Bill Gelman

About

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and world championship boxing at Boardwalk Hall. He is now adding NJ sports betting and online gambling to the mix.