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New Jersey reports billion-dollar sports betting handle in September

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — New Jersey’s sports betting industry became the first in the United States to take in more than a billion dollars in bets in a single month as football season sent more gamblers to sports books and, crucially, their phones, according to figures released Monday.

Figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show Atlantic City’s nine casinos and the three racetracks that take sports bets collectively took $1.01 billion worth of wagers on sports in September, setting a new monthly record for both the state and the nation.

Of that lofty total, known as the “handle,” more than $82 million was kept by the casinos and tracks as revenue after winning bets and other expenses were paid. The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, near New York City, accounted for half that total.

‘Impressive indicator’

Nevada won’t report its September numbers until the end of October.

“New Jersey has always been a strong gaming market,” said Casey Clark, senior vice president of the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s national trade group. “Crossing the $1 billion handle mark in September is an impressive indicator of the appetite of New Jerseyans and Americans across the country who have embraced legal, regulated sports betting.”

September was a good month for New Jersey’s gambling industry overall, with total casino, internet and sports betting revenue up over 40 percent from a year ago, to $453.5 million.

New Jersey won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 clearing the way for all 50 states to offer legal sports betting, and more than half the country now allows it.

Since then, New Jersey has been near or at the top of the nationwide sports betting industry. The previous national record for the most money bet on sports in a single month also came from New Jersey, which saw $996 million wagered on sports in December 2020.

For the first nine months of this year, New Jersey sports books have taken in more than $7 billion worth of bets.

Nevada’s numbers still to come

How the football season kickoff affected Nevada sportsbooks won’t be determined until the end of the month when the Nevada Gaming Control Board reports September’s gaming figures.

The state’s sports pool handle in August was $427.6 million, down 10 percent from August 2020. The casinos’ sports win of $14.3 million in August was down 15.6 percent from a year earlier.

The board reported 69.4 percent of sports wagers were made on mobile apps, $296.8 million, with a hold of 2.9 percent, or $8.7 million.

“Football wagering is vital in every state where sports betting is legal and necessary for sportsbooks to reach such heights,” said David Danzis, an analyst for PlayNJ.com. “What’s most impressive is just how much New Jersey has evolved into a market with no equals. The Garden State’s 12 highest volume months happen to be the 12 highest volume months in U.S. history. And all of them have come since August 2020.”

Joe Greff, a gaming industry analyst for New York-based J.P. Morgan, said two Nevada companies were in the middle of the pack for market share in New Jersey.

“In terms of market share, we estimate FanDuel had No. 1 share, with revenues of $35.9 million, about 44 percent share, followed by DraftKings at $13.1 million (16 percent share), BetMGM at $13.4 million (16 percent share), Caesars at $6.4 million (about 8 percent share), PointsBet at $5.3 million (7 percent share) and Barstool at $4.1 million (5 percent share),” Greff said in a report to investors issued Monday.

Review-Journal staff writer Richard N. Velotta contributed to this report.

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