According to figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, sportsbooks accepted $260 million in wagers in October 2018. Unfortunately, they only managed to hang onto $11.7 million of that in NJ sports betting revenue.
The amount that sportsbooks collect in wagers, or handle, has grown every single month of NJ sports betting. October’s performance represents a 41 percent increase over September’s figures, which themselves were almost double those of August.
On the other hand, the hold amount was less than half of September’s. So, what gives?
Why the drop in NJ sports betting revenue?
This kind of precipitous fall in earnings would be cause for alarm in most businesses. Certainly, for a sportsbook, it warrants attention.
However, there are a few possible explanations for why October turned out to be a tougher month for New Jersey sportsbooks. The first reason has to do with the timing of the World Series.
MLB’s championship series always takes place in October. Because of this, any bettors who successfully chose the Boston Red Sox as World Series Champions collected their winnings. Given New Jersey is the closest sports betting location to Massachusetts, it’s possible that many people had the Sox winning the Fall Classic.
Up to that point, the sportsbooks still had the customers’ funds on the books. So, with those tickets finally settling, the artificially-inflated hold returned to its actual level.
The second explanation for the drop is simply the variance present in the industry. As Steve Ruddock explained earlier this week, sports betting figures can have wild swings in the short term. However, as time goes by, the hold figures will balance out.
The third and final reason is perhaps the simplest of all: Customers just won more times in October. In an industry like sports betting, that’s going to happen sometimes.
Winners and losers in NJ sports betting
- DraftKings/BetStars: The two online sportsbooks (mainly DraftKings) were the overwhelming leaders in revenue for the month. The $5 million they grossed eclipsed earnings by all Atlantic City casinos combined.
- FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands: Of the $2.8 million in retail revenue, the Meadowlands accounted for $1.1 million. Since opening in July, the North Jersey racetrack accumulated $9.9 million in revenue, a full $3.2 million ahead of Monmouth Park, which opened a month earlier.
- Borgata: The casino’s sportsbook revenue fell precipitously from more than $2.5 million in September to a measly $187,212 in October. However, don’t weep too much for the Borgata. Its total gaming revenue exceeded the combined revenues of any two competitors in October.
- Golden Nugget: The sportsbook for this property lost nearly $1 million from its September haul. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Nugget also lost one of its online sports betting partners, SugarHouse Sportsbook, which switched over to Monmouth Park‘s license. The pain might continue for Golden Nugget in the next few months, too. The sportsbook cannot accept wagers on NBA games as per DGE regulations.
NJ online sports betting is the ultimate winner
DraftKings Sportsbook, of course, is the undisputed king of online sportsbooks. But perhaps the true winner might be the strength of the online market as a whole.
Nearly $174 million of the $260 million in total handle came from NJ’s eight online sports betting sites. That’s $70 million more than September’s NJ online sports betting handle.
Make that more than 2x all the casinos combined. So anyway, yeah, if you're a state and concentrating on retail, good luck to you.
— Dustin Gouker (@DustinGouker) November 15, 2018
And in the end, mobile sports betting is where it’s at. Not only is it convenient, but it’s also competitive. With eight sportsbook apps, the competition is fierce, and that, in turn, means there’s a lot of options for sports bettors to shop around.
Of course, as November closes and another month of NJ sports betting ends, things could change.