New Jersey sportsbooks took nearly $743 million in wagers in February and reported more than $46 million in revenue.

Both numbers are significantly higher than those from February 2020 (the last full month before pro and college sports shut down), according to data released Tuesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Anchored by $117.4 million in Super Bowl 55 bets, February 2021’s monthly sports betting handle was $248.14 million more than during the same month last year.

And that’s with February 2020 having an extra day because of a Leap Year.

As a result, Garden State sportsbooks reported a year-over-year revenue increase of nearly 244%.

However, February’s total sports betting handle was a drop of nearly $215 million from January’s $958.7 million.

The dip from January is expected. In every year in which New Jersey has offered legal sports betting, February has generated less in total wagers than in January.

Last month’s handle was the state’s lowest total since August.
In December, NJ set a U.S. record with a monthly sports betting handle of $996.3 million.

Online & mobile carries New Jersey sportsbooks, again

Online sports betting accounted for $689.25 million, or nearly 93%, of February’s total handle. That figure is $252.8 million more than the amount online sports gamblers shelled out in February 2020.

The Meadowlands Racetrack (FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet NJ) topped the online market again with $24.9 million in gross revenue, down from $41.8 million in January. The license holder reported $27.1 million for the month.

Resorts Digital, led by DraftKings Sportsbook, finished an extremely distant second with $7.7 million, the bulk of which is from online wagering.

“FanDuel and DraftKings have dominated the market since launch, and there really hasn’t been a major change in that dynamic since 2018,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. “BetMGM is making end roads in other states, including Michigan, but it will take a lot for it to significantly eat into the New Jersey market share of the nation’s two largest operators.”

Retail’s struggles getting lost in the shuffle

Conversely, NJ’s retail sportsbooks took less action in February 2021 compared to last year, even with two additional locations. Last month, NJ’s 12 brick-and-mortar sportsbooks reported a total handle of $53.7 million. In February 2020, with just 10 retail shops, New Jersey sportsbooks handled $58.3 million.

A Parx-branded Sportsbook at Freehold Raceway opened in September 2020, but has yet to drum up much business.

A temporary FanDuel Sportsbook opened at Bally’s Atlantic City in December. Bally’s and FanDuel opened the permanent location this week, just in time for March Madness.

New Jersey sportsbooks ready to celebrate  March Madness

The good news for NJ sportsbooks is that Garden State gamblers love basketball betting. Only football garners more bets in NJ than basketball, according to DGE data.

That means a potential $1 billion monthly sports betting handle is not out of the question.  March Madness betting will be leading the way.

“March Madness is the largest sports betting holiday of the year, and in New Jersey, basketball, in general, tends to draw a lot of action,” said PlayNJ.com analyst Eric Ramsey. “In other words, it’s possible New Jersey could become the nation’s first state to generate more than $1 billion in sports bets in a single month.”

AP Photo/Ashley Landis

 

 

 

About

David Danzis is an award-winning journalist who has covered business, politics, government, education, and sports in New Jersey. Most recently, he wrote about Atlantic City casinos, online gaming, and sports betting for The Press of Atlantic City. David is a graduate of Rutgers University.