New Jersey Breaks US Sports Betting Record With $668m August Handle

  • Sports wagering handle for the month smashed former $614m record set by Nevada
  • State's sports betting revenue was up 57% year-on-year, with online wagering dominant
  • Casino win totaled 70% of 2019 levels despite COVID-19 restrictions on gambling facilities
  • Other states also saw betting recovery successes with the recent resumption of sporting events
small upturned boat on beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey
New Jersey sports betting handle broke the national record in August, totaling $668m for the month. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A new national record set

New Jersey’s sports betting handle was $668m for the month of August, according to data from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. This sets a new national monthly record for the US, breaking Nevada’s former high of $614m in November 2019.

Total sports wagering revenue for the state was $39.5m for the period, reflecting a sharp increase of 57% year-on-year. Betting revenue was up 16.5% for the year-to-August 31 (YTD) at $178m. The Meadowlands racetrack, the partner of PointsBet and FanDuel, generated the highest figure.

most popular form of sports betting was online

The state also saw significant growth across its online segments. Internet gaming win was $87.8m for August, reflecting an increase of almost 114% from 2019. The most popular form of sports betting was online, with customers wagering $601.9m in comparison to $66m spent at retail sportsbooks.  

Overall gaming revenue was still down for August in comparison to 2019. Total gaming revenue was $326.3m for the period, a drop of 7.5%, while August YTD revenue declined by 29% to $1.618bn. This can be mainly attributed to a continued lack of casino win revenue as a result of COVID-19 restrictions imposed on gambling facilities.

The slow road to recovery

Although New Jersey is still posting year-on-year decreases in its overall gaming revenue each month, James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, is optimistic. He said: “Recovery is underway, even with continuing travel advisories that decreased visits from out of state.”

Month-on-month casino win indicates some recovery in spite of strict restrictions on casino operations in the state. August’s figure reached $199.1m, representing almost 70% of the total for 2019 and a rise of 23% from July’s revenue. Borgata Hotel and Casino generated the highest monthly casino win total at $40.5m, followed by Hard Rock Casino at $32.8m.

In July, New Jersey casinos were permitted to reopen after a period of enforced closures, with certain restrictions in place. These included mandatory mask-wearing and limits on player numbers for table games. Smoking is also not permitted inside casinos after Governor Phil Murphy extended the ban earlier this month. Casinos in the state currently operate at 25% of total occupancy, not including employees.

Other US sports betting successes

New Jersey’s sports betting success can be attributed in part to the resumption of major sports leagues such as the NBA, which restarted on July 30 after a four-month suspension. The return of sporting activity has seen other states share in sports handle growth.

West Virginia smashed its previous state record

West Virginia smashed its previous state record with sports betting handle totaling $40.4m for the month of August. This was 153% higher than the $16m the state registered in July. Online handle almost doubled that for July, reaching $31m.

Iowa’s August betting handle increased more than twofold month-on-month, amounting to $50.3m. Again, the majority was wagered online, with bettors spending $35m at sportsbook sites. Finally, Indiana saw a 48% surge in sports betting handle month-on-month for August, with a total of $169m. Of this amount, $144m was wagered online.