The first Super Bowl after the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey wasn’t a profitable one for sportsbooks in the state, as bookmakers took $4.5 million in losses on the New England Patriots 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
According to numbers released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, nearly $35 million was bet on the Super Bowl in the state.
FanDuel Hit Hard by Patriots Bettors
The losses weren’t spread out evenly. In fact, bookmakers would have come out ahead overall if it weren’t for the very bad day experienced by the FanDuel Sportsbook, where the vast majority of the money was on the Patriots.
“After opening at +1 on New England, customers quickly pumped money on the Patriots and didn’t stop. By kick off, 75 percent of money was on the Pats,” FanDuel said in a statement. “All of this combined to leave New England as a big loser for the FanDuel Sportsbook. Very big in fact. We estimate our customers won almost $5 million from us on the Big Game.”
FanDuel’s losses were magnified by a promotional offer that gave players the chance to make a $5 bet at 53-1 odds on either team. Anyone who took advantage of the promotion and bet on the Patriots would have won $265.
DraftKings Sportsbook also lost a little more than $1 million on the Super Bowl. Other New Jersey bookmakers like William Hill and SugarHouse also reported losing to their customers, though BetStars told ESPN that it made a profit on the game.
Vegas Comes Out on Top, As Usual
The magnitude of the loss might be partially explained by the fact that New Jersey is relatively close to Boston, meaning that the public money was inevitably going to favor the Patriots. That may also explain why Nevada sportsbooks – which saw a bit more balanced betting on both sides – did much better than their Jersey counterparts.
According to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, bookmakers in the state won $10.7 million on $145.9 million in Super Bowl handle. That represents the second-largest handle ever on the Super Bowl for Nevada, though it was still down about eight percent from the $158.4 million bet on the game last year, which stands as the state record.
SuperBook USA director Jay Kornegay told ESPN that a mix of Patriots fatigue and the fact that a customer who had bet upwards of $8 million didn’t put nearly as much on the game this year were the main causes for the decline – not the increased competition from other states.
“Personally, I’m not alarmed at all,” Stations Casinos vice president Art Manteris told ESPN. “Our properties were jammed, our hotel capacity was great and the crowds at all 16 sportsbooks were at capacity.”
The House (Almost) Always Wins
Losses on the Super Bowl are fairly rare for Nevada sportsbooks. Numbers on the game have been tracked since 1991, and gamblers have beat the books only twice: in 1995 and in 2009.
This year’s losses in New Jersey will have a big impact when the monthly revenue report is released for February, but shouldn’t cause too much strife for bookmakers overall. In their first six months of operation, New Jersey sportsbooks won $72 million on more than $1 billion in total handle, a number that should rise in 2019, the first full year of legal sports betting in the state.