The trend of participating US legal sports betting states reporting June handle declines along with revenue spikes officially added the top jurisdiction in the country, New Jersey to that list on Friday. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement is out with their June sports betting figures that support the broader industry trend of mixed-bag results within the US legal wagering scene.
In May, a head-scratching pattern of states reporting handle decreases coupled with revenue increases and vice versa became the norm, not the exception. The pattern has continued in June with states like Indiana, Iowa, Oregon and Delaware all seeing slight dips in their overall wagering activity and healthy spikes in the profits made off the platform, before New Jersey joined the club Friday.
The June Figures
New Jersey continues to be the most successful legal sports betting market in the US. Despite a 5.8% drop in its overall handle, the states’ books took in $766.9 million in bets in June. That’s down from $814.3 million in May and nearly $220 million off the $996.3 million record that was set back in December.
Revenues, just like all other states that have reported their June sports betting numbers so far, went the other way. While the handle dropped, revenues spiked 34.7% from May. Profits for the state’s sportsbooks came in at $71.3 million, $19 million higher than the $52.9 million reported in May.
The revenue spike can be traced back to the increase in hold for New Jersey sportsbooks. In May, the state’s providers held 6.5%. That number was 9.3% in June.
$10.9 million in taxes were collected off the sportsbook profits for state and local coffers.
“Overall, New Jersey continues to perform far better than every other sports betting market in the U.S.,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayNJ.com. “No market can completely overcome a lack of betting inventory, but New Jersey’s sportsbooks continue to find ways to capitalize on what the sports world is offering, most notably the NBA Playoffs and baseball.”
Mobile vs. Retail
As per usual, it was New Jersey’s top-notch mobile sports betting platform that carried the overall industry in the state. $683 million or 89.1% of the $766.9 million total handle came from the state’s betting apps. That represents a 7.0% month-to-month drop.
With COVID restrictions being eased in New Jersey, retail sports betting has seen a bump, however. $83.9 million was bet at the state’s retail facilities in June, up from $79.7 million in May. Those numbers are expected to increase with the return of tourism and the re-opening of and focus on Atlantic City this summer.
For the first time since March, it wasn’t a particular league that carried the sports betting industry in New Jersey. It was parlays that contributed the most toward the overall handle with $31 million. “Other” sports were next with $17.5 million.
The leading sports contributor was once again basketball with a somewhat disappointing $14.5 million contribution toward the overall legal sports betting handle. The departure of the New Jersey Nets from the NBA playoffs and the overall lack of basketball games to bet on hurt the hoops contribution. Baseball was next but only generated $3.5 million in bets.
Looking Back and Looking Forward
The end of June marked the end of the first half of 2021 and if the first six months is a hint of what is to come, the state’s annual handle record will be smashed. In 2020 New Jersey sportsbooks generated $6 billion in bets. So far in 2021, those same books have reported $4.9 billion in bets and $361 million in revenue thanks to a 7.4% hold.
New sports betting brands like the Sports Illustrated-branded app should provide a spark for the New Jersey market as should the impending regulatory decision to finally allow for college sports betting.
Looking forward, the New Jersey scene is likely set up for two more months of underwhelming handles. But once September hits and the NFL season kicks off, records will fall again. It all adds up to the possibility of a $10 billion total 2021 handle for The Garden State, as hard is that is to believe.