ew Jersey's sports betting market shattered its own national record in September, taking in more than $748 million in bets amid NFL's return.
Figures released Thursday from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show Atlantic City's nine casinos and the three horse racing tracks that offer sports betting handled over $748 million in bets, easily surpassing the national monthly record they set just a month earlier, when $668 million was wagered on sports in August. Both figures eclipsed what had been the U.S. record of $614 million set in Nevada in Nov. 2019, the Associated Press reports.
So far this year, New Jersey casinos and tracks have taken in nearly $3.3 billion in sports bets alone. That equals or surpasses what Atlantic City used to make in an entire year from casino gambling before sports betting was legalized.
In September, the win from sports betting for casinos and tracks amounted to $45 million.
Including casino games, the gambling industry in New Jersey won $323.2 million in September, an increase of 6.5% over the same month of the prior year, when there was no pandemic and casinos were operating at full capacity. Casinos are currently limited to 25% occupancy as a precaution to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Total gaming revenue for Atlantic City’s nine casinos was up 3% year-over-year to nearly $291.7 million in September, ending a six-month streak of decreases because of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The growth is due entirely to internet casino revenue. A 113% increase in online gaming revenue helped cushion losses from slot machines (-9.6%), table games (-28.7%) and sports betting (-23.5%).
Given the state’s COVID-19 travel restrictions and casino capacity limitations, the nearly $291.7 million in total gaming revenue reported by the gambling parlors last month was cause for measured optimism.
“For the sixth month in a row, internet gaming win more than doubled compared to last year. Casino gaming taxes grew more than 16% compared to last September, providing needed funds for programs that aid New Jersey’s senior citizens and disabled residents,” said Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis. “These results were promising in the midst of continuing travel advisories that decrease visits from out of state, as well as restrictions on capacity, amenities and entertainment that have made 2020 not reasonably comparable to last year.”
The Borgata won $64 million in September, down 2.8% from a year earlier. Golden Nugget won $37.5 million, up 16.3%; Hard Rock won $35.8 million, up 12.5%, and the Ocean Casino Resort won $29.5 million, up nearly 22%. The Tropicana won $26.1 million, down nearly 10%; Harrah's won $19.5 million, down 26.6%, and Caesars won $18.9%, down 1.8%. Resorts won $13.9%, down 7.5%; and Bally's won $12.9%, down 15.6%.
The Ocean Casino showed the largest percentage increase in September revenue in Atlantic City, and CEO Terry Glebocki said that was due to several factors. “The combination of Labor Day weekend and the return of indoor dining, limited to 25%, afforded us the opportunity in September to continue the momentum created here at Ocean," she said. "Our guests have enjoyed dining again at their favorite restaurants within our casino resort, and our year-over-year gaming revenue growth of nearly 27% is indicative of the successes we have achieved.”
“Casino win was 85 percent of last September’s performance, aided by the reopening of casino restaurants on September 4, and the resumption of food and beverage service on casino floors,” Plousis said. “These results were promising in the midst of continuing travel advisories that decrease visits from out of state, as well as restrictions on capacity, amenities and entertainment that have made 2020 not reasonably comparable to last year.”
Online gambling revenue was $87.6 million in September, up 113% from the $41.1 million it produced in Sept. 2019. Through the first nine months of 2020, it has generated $685.6 million, up 102.2% from $339 million through the same period in 2019. Some online gaming experts believe a record-setting $950 million in annual online revenue is possible this year.
The Freehold Raceway began taking in-person bets on Sept. 24, making it the third horse racing track in the New Jersey sports betting market. It has not yet been approved for mobile sports betting and reported a loss of almost $45,000 in the final week of the month.
The Meadowlands Racetrack in east Rutherford, near New York City, continued to dominate sports betting in the state, with $28.1 million in revenue in September. Monmouth Park in Oceanport made nearly $3.5 million.