Patrons wagered more than $1 billion in a single month this past September at New Jersey’s sportsbooks for the first time in state and national history, according to state gaming regulators.
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement data released Oct. 18 show that patrons bet $1.01 billion at the state’s nine casinos and three racetracks, reaching the highest-ever monthly record for both the state and the nation.
More than $918 million was wagered online, and the other $92.6 million in person. The casinos took home a combined $82.4 million from sports-betting, compared to $45 million last year—an 82.9% increase.
The figures come as a largely pre-pandemic feeling football season returns, and patrons stream to brick and mortar sportsbooks, or online and mobile apps to place bets.
“With mild weather continuing into October, and indications that the worst of the pandemic may finally be behind us we should expect to see strong land-based revenue numbers into the fall even as other revenue streams – sports betting and internet gaming – continue to generate solid revenue for operators,” said Jane Bokunewicz, head of the casino think tank the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, just outside of Atlantic City.
The U.S. Supreme Court knocked down a near nationwide ban on sports betting in May 2018, prompting New Jersey to fully roll out its own industry the following month. Since then, the sportsbooks both at Atlantic City’s casinos and across the state have frequently rivaled Las Vegas for consumer spending.
“[S]portsbooks reaching $1 billion in monthly handle is a reminder that there is no gaming market in the U.S. that is playing on New Jersey’s level,” reads a prepared statement from Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the online publication PlayNJ.com.
Overall, monthly casino revenue in September did much better than last year, when the pandemic and lack of a vaccine meant intense restrictions on crowd sizes at the casinos and ancillary amenities such as dining, retail and entertainment.
Casino win was $248.5 million this past September, compared to $190 million the same month in 2020, or a 30.4% increase. Online revenue was nearly $122.6 million this September, or a 39.9% increase from the $87.3 million the casinos won online last year.
Total gaming revenue for the nine combined casinos was nearly $453.6 million this September, a 40.3% increase from the $323.3 million from last year.
“September’s results demonstrate that in-person casino gaming and internet gaming are a winning combination,” reads a statement from James Plousis, who heads the state’s Casino Control Commission, another regulatory body.
Borgata led the pack with nearly $112 million this September, or a 74.8% jump from last year. Harrah’s won $27.9 million this September, or 42.5% up from September last year. Hard Rock brought in $48.7 million, or nearly 36% up from last September. Tropicana followed with a take-home of $34.8 million, or 33.3% up from last year.
For three and a half months in 2020, the state’s nine casinos had to completely shut down brick and mortar operations, then operate at reduced capacity beginning in July after reopening. During that time, the casinos relied on internet and mobile gabling as a lifeboat, still leaving out the hotel, dining, hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries which fueled the city’s economy.
Unemployment rates in Atlantic City amid COVID-19 became among the highest rates in the state.
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