New Jersey and Indiana Break Sports Betting Records in 2020 Year-End Handle Reports

  • NJ and IN gaming regulators revealed sports betting growth as part of year-end handle data
  • Sports betting handle in NJ was a US monthly high for the fifth month in a row, nearing $1bn
  • NJ casinos struggled despite the sports wagering growth, with 2020 gaming revenue down 17%
  • IN's December sportsbook handle grew 25% month-on-month, with an all-time total of over $1bn
hand holds smartphone with an American football on a field in background
New Jersey and Indiana gaming authorities have reported year-end gambling figures, with both states breaking records for sports betting handle in December 2020. [Image:]

Breaking records across the board

In what was a difficult year for brick-and-mortar casinos, sports wagering provided some much-needed revenue in the New Jersey and Indiana gambling markets in 2020.

Gaming regulators in both states this week unveiled gaming revenue and handle totals for December 2020 and the full year. New Jersey sports betting has seen a particularly profitable year. Garden State sports wagering handle hit an all-time US monthly high for the fifth consecutive month in December, nearly totaling $1bn. The state’s nine casinos and three horse racing tracks took in more than $996m sports bets for the month, with revenue hitting $66.4m.

Garden State sports wagering handle hit an all-time US monthly high for the fifth consecutive month

Meanwhile, Indiana sports wagering also broke a record for December, albeit an internal one. The state’s all-time sports betting handle passed $1bn for the first time, with December’s total of $313m pushing the overall amount up to $1.23bn. December was the fourth consecutive record-setting month for Indiana sports betting.

Mixed results for the Garden State

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released its full-year figures on Wednesday. Casinos in the state faced closures from March to July 2020 because of the COVID-19 outbreak, operating with restrictions after this point. However, the data shows that New Jersey was able to capitalize on a booming online sports betting market.

Of the state’s record-breaking $996.3m in handle for December, bettors wagered $929.3m online, making up 93% of the overall total. For the full-year 2020, sports betting revenue and handle totals were $398.5m and $6.02bn, respectively.

New Jersey also saw substantial growth in online casino revenue. For December, internet gaming win totaled $99.5m – a steep rise of 102% in comparison with 2019’s figure. Overall, online gaming revenue increased 101% year-on-year to a total of $970.3m. Despite this, gaming revenue in New Jersey still fell 17% year-on-year for 2020, to a total of $2.88bn. Casinos felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic right up to the new year, with December casino win down almost 30% from 2019.

Other states also posted year-end gaming revenue results this week. New Jersey’s neighboring state of New York posted a 211% year-on-year rise in sports betting revenue for December. Delaware saw substantial online casino growth due to the impact of lockdowns, while Michigan casinos struggled to mitigate COVID-19 losses throughout 2020.

Of the Garden State’s casinos, only Golden Nugget generated more revenue last year than it did in 2019. It increased its total gaming revenue by 10% year-on-year, to a total of $415.5m. This was mainly thanks to the success of its internet gaming win segment, which saw 80% growth.

Treading new ground in Indiana

Indiana’s in-person sportsbooks first launched in September 2019 before the state’s online market went live in October 2019. As far as first full years go, it was a successful one for Indiana, with month-on-month gains since September 2020.

American football saw the highest wagering figures

Indiana’s December sports wagering handle saw an increase of 25% from the previous month’s record-setting total. According to data from the Indiana Gaming Commission, American football saw the highest wagering figures, generating $101.8m worth of handle. Basketball came in second, with a total of $89.7m.

Online betting accounted for 84% of December’s sports betting handle. DraftKings took in the highest number of December bets, totaling $112.7m. Meanwhile, retail sportsbook revenue was actually down 2% from 2019 levels for the month. Of Indiana’s land-based properties, Hollywood Lawrenceburg saw the highest handle of almost $12.2m.

Online casino activity is not yet legal in Indiana. However, earlier this week, Senator Jon Ford introduced a new bill which would legalize online gambling in the state. The legislation would permit land-based casinos three skins with online casino operators. The Senate Public Policy Committee will discuss the bill later this month.

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