After missing out on March Madness last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey sports bettors made up for it in 2021.

According to data released Friday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, more than $859.6 million was legally wagered with NJ sportsbooks in March. It was the fourth-largest monthly handle since NJ sports betting was legalized in June 2018.

Statewide, March sports betting generated nearly $60.8 million in revenue for the books. March 2021 was the third-highest-grossing month in NJ’s history.

Online, mobile driving NJ sports betting market

Online sports betting continues to dominate retail sportsbooks at either Atlantic City casinos or the state’s three licensed racetracks.

Based on the NJDGE figures, $780.15 million (90.8%) of the monthly handle were bets placed online or through a mobile sports betting app.
In terms of sports betting revenue, nearly $56.5 million (93%) of the statewide total came from online or mobile apps.

The online partners of the Meadowlands Racetrack, which includes FanDuel Sportsbook and PointsBet, generated more than $28.5 million in March.

Meanwhile, Resorts Digital, which includes DraftKings Sportsbook, reported nearly $14.2 million to finish second.

Borgata rounds out the top three with just shy of $6.5 million in online sports betting revenue. This is a combination of the BetMGM and the Borgata Sports apps.

NJ sports betting results from AC, tracks

For the first time ever, all nine Atlantic City casinos had permanent sportsbooks for the NCAA Tournament.

The returns were underwhelming. Atlantic City casino sportsbooks generated $718,091 in revenue last month, according to DGE data.

Three retail sportsbooks at Atlantic City casinos (Borgata, Hard Rock, and Ocean) reported monthly sports betting losses.

Additionally, Freehold Raceway’s Parx-branded retail sportsbook was taking March Madness bets for the first time. It joined the existing books at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park racetracks. The launch of online wagering at Freehold, however, remains a work in progress. So the $130,699, while barely noticeable compared to the other license holders, is 100% retail.

The three racetracks reported $3.55 million from their brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Meadowlands accounted for $2.8 million.

March Madness surge, minus Rutgers

It really is no surprise that NJ sportsbooks see a bump during March Madness.

According to Play NJ,  fueled by March Madness, basketball accounted for $441.7 million of the state’s handle in March, up from $320.3 million in January and $325.8 million in February.

Retail sportsbooks generated $79.5 million in bets, the highest volume for retail books since January 2019.

Keep in mind, the 2021 NCAA Tournament field included New Jersey’s own Rutgers University, who advanced to the second round and nearly upset the University of Houston, who advanced to the Final Four.  However, NJ sportsbooks were not permitted to offer odds or take wagers on the Scarlet Knights.

Even without them, the March NJ sports betting totals were very strong.

“The popularity of college basketball is what led to the resurgence of retail sportsbooks, good news for a segment that hasn’t seen much over the last year,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for PlayNJ.com. “If New Jersey allowed betting on in-state college teams, the run by Rutgers could have given them an additional boost. Regardless, it was an excellent month for sportsbooks.”

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

 

David Danzis

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.