New Jersey sportsbooks took advantage of a loaded August schedule by collecting $667.9 million in bets during the month, setting a new all-time high for any state with legalized sports betting.
Nevada set the previous record last November when its sportsbooks took $614.1 million in bets. New Jersey set its previous high that same month, bringing in $562 million.
New Jersey Sets Record Without NFL Football
The New Jersey figures came in a month packed with Major League Baseball and NBA games, along with regular NHL, golf, UFC, and NASCAR action. Notably, however, the state set the record without NFL games, which traditionally drive the biggest handles and revenues for the sports betting industry.
New Jersey bettors wagered about $166.2 million on basketball during August, along with another $150 million on baseball. Critically, gamblers made more than 90% of all bets through online and mobile apps at a time when Atlantic City casinos are operating at limited capacity due to COVID-19.
“The New Jersey sports betting model has proven itself to be great for consumers and operators alike, so it comes as no surprise to see continued growth and another record-setting month this past august,” Patrick Eichner, communications director for PointsBet, told ESPN. “With NFL and college football now underway, plus plenty of other marquee sports, safe to expect a big month again in September.”
The figures more than doubled what New Jersey sportsbooks collected in August 2019. That, along with strong numbers from online casinos and poker sites, helped offset reduced casino traffic. It was enough to bring the state to within spitting distance of its overall gaming haul from a year ago. Casinos and racetracks won a total of $326.3 million in August, down 7.5% year-over-year.
“Recovery is underway, even with continuing travel advisories that decreased visits from out of state,” New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman James Plousis said, via the Associated Press. “Atlantic City’s casino win was almost 70% of last August’s strong performance, although the months are not reasonably comparable because of restrictions on capacity, amenities, and entertainment.”
Nevada Slipping as Sports Betting Leader
The figures could mark a sea change in the landscape of legalized sports betting in the United States. Last year, New Jersey began challenging Nevada in terms of overall sportsbook handle, with the two states trading the lead in various months. Nevada maintained the annual lead in large part due to the fact that it remains a destination for major events like the Super Bowl and March Madness.
New Jersey holds a major advantage when it comes to online sports betting, as it doesn’t require in-person registration or account funding. With COVID-19 limiting travel, that could accelerate New Jersey’s assent to the top spot in the American industry, particularly if fans and bettors are still shying away from destination wagering in Las Vegas in early 2021.