Monthly report

NJ posts record $114M sports betting revenue in Nov.; casino win above 2019 amid tax break debate

FanDuel Sportsbook at Bally's Atlantic City Hotel and Casino.
United States
Reading time 3:15 min

New Jersey has yet again posted a new sports betting record in November. While handle, at $1.26 billion, fell just short of the country’s single-month record-high of $1.3 billion, set in October, the state did set a new all-time high in sports wagering revenue at $114.8 million.

Thanks to this new record, New Jersey has now become the first state to ever surpass the $100 million mark in operator revenue in a single month, according to data released by the Division of Gaming Enforcement. The previous revenue record was October’s $84.2 million.

The $114.8 million in revenue posted last November represents a considerable increase over November 2020, in which sportsbooks in the state brought in $50.6 million. The state is now up over 125% in revenue year-over-year.

While handle was lower than that posted in October, November was still a great month for sportsbook operators in the state, especially when taking into account October had five full weekends of football action, and November had just four. With over $9.7 billion in wagers through the year so far, New Jersey is set to become the first state to post handle over $10 billion in a single calendar year.

Unlike other months, NBA proved to be the most popular betting choice for New Jerseyans in November, with the season now well underway: basketball placed first, followed by football. Baseball was the third most-popular betting choice.

As expected, online betting was the most popular choice, making up 90.9% of the overall market share, with $1.1 billion in bets during the month. This figure was down 3% from October’s $1.2 billion in online bets, but 31.2% above from November 2020, which was at $872.1 million.

While New Jersey has now clearly become the sports betting capital of the US, New York, which recently approved mobile sports betting, could eventually surpass these figures, despite sportsbooks being subjected to an unusually high 51% tax rate.

But even if New Jersey is set to lose a portion of the sports betting market once New York launches, so far, the state has reasons to remain confident. Not only in sports betting, but its gaming industry at large: during November, casino win amounted to nearly $440 million, up more than 52% from a year ago, proving the state’s resiliency.

The news comes as lawmakers in the state prepare themselves to vote on a new bill, which would give casinos in New Jersey big tax breaks. One of the main reasons why the Atlantic City casino PILOT bill was proposed, which seeks to lower what casinos would have to pay in lieu of property taxes for five years, was due to certain venues being in danger of closing.

However, the latest data posted by the state’s regulator has been seen as proof that operators are doing just fine: for the first 11 months of the year, casinos have won $4.3 billion, up nearly 69% from the same period last year, according to Associated Press.

While the casino industry was heavily impacted during 2020, the comparison to pre-pandemic 2019 still paints a positive picture for the market: casinos are also now doing better than that year, bolstered by sports betting and internet gambling. The $4.3 billion won so far this year is still more than 34% better than the amount they won over the first 11 months of 2019.

The PILOT bill is now set to be voted on by both the full New Jersey Assembly and Senate next Monday. It would see the casinos pay about $55 million less next year than they otherwise would have. It would also exempt the two fastest-growing revenue streams, sports betting and internet gambling, from calculations on how much the casinos must pay.

But while New Jersey’s outgoing state Senate president, Steve Sweeney, has gone on record saying that if the bill were not to pass as many as four casinos would be in danger of shutting down, this claim is now being protested

On top of no casinos having publicly made the same claim, other parties have protested that no evidence has been shown of this being a likely scenario. Instead, Thursday’s figures have been seen as proof that the industry is as strong as ever, if not stronger.

However, Joe Lupo, head of the Casino Association of New Jersey, has warned that state-reported figures do not tell the whole story: in-person gambling is down 5.5% from 2019 levels, sliding back with the resurgence of Covid-19 infection rates.

Seven of the nine casinos showed declines in the amount of in-person money won from gamblers versus 2019, AP further reports. Sports betting and online gambling have successfully filled the gap, but casino executives still argue the PILOT bill is needed, as revenue from these verticals must be shared among technology and sportsbook partners, thus being not solely for the venues to keep.