New Jersey Governor Proclaims State Tops In Sports Gambling

Posted on: February 17, 2021, 01:59h. 

Last updated on: February 17, 2021, 02:35h.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) says the state has emerged as the premier destination to gamble on professional and collegiate sports.

New Jersey sports betting Atlantic City
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is seen here during a Democratic watch party in Newark back in 2017. The first-term governor today applauded the state’s gaming industry for its sports betting successes. (Image: Associated Press)

New Jersey sportsbooks kicked off the new year with yet another busy month. Oddsmakers took in more than $958.7 million in bets. They kept $82.6 million of the wagers on a hold rate of roughly 8.6 percent.

January’s sports betting revenue represented a 54.3 percent premium on January 2020. The month followed a massively successful 2020 campaign where oddsmakers accepted $6 billion in bets. The house kept $398.5 million.

New Jersey’s sports wagering handle and revenue for 2020 were the highest in the nation. We are the nation’s premier sports betting destination — boosting our economy at a critical moment,” Murphy tweeted today.

Oddly, the governor included an article from a sports betting media site recapping the 2020 results, not today’s January 2021 numbers release. The article was published back in mid-January.

Online Gaming Continues Surge

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place at the nine casinos in Atlantic City, many gamblers continued to play online. January iGaming gross gaming revenue (GGR) totaled $103.7 million, an 88.4 percent year-over-year increase.

Online slot machines and table games won $101 million, while poker fees generated revenue of $2.7 million.

Sports bettors overwhelmingly facilitated their bets online. Of the $958.7 million wagered, $886.6 million — or 92.4 percent — was placed remotely.

Murphy earlier this month loosened some restrictions on brick-and-mortar casino operations. Most importantly, the 10 pm nightly curfew of indoor food and beverage service was lifted. Casino floors were also allowed to increase their capacity from 25 percent to 35 percent.

That should help increase land-based GGR this month. But for January, gaming remained slow in Atlantic City.

Slot machines won $113.3 million, down more than $27 million from January 2020. Table games managed to win $46.7 million, down 9.3 percent.

Borgata led the way in total GGR. The MGM Resorts property won $75.4 million from land-based, internet, and sports gambling. Resorts, thanks to its market-leading digital unit, came in second at $49.1 million.

Sports Betting Faces Challenges

Murphy’s celebration of New Jersey’s sports betting market could be subdued in the coming months.

New York currently limits sports betting to in-person sportsbooks located in the upper part of the state. That’s led to many New Yorkers traveling in to New Jersey to place their bets online. During the college football and NFL seasons, train stations immediately in New Jersey, such as the Hoboken station, were packed with bettors wagering on their smartphones.

An effort is underway in the Albany capital to overhaul New York’s sports betting regulations. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is on board with permitting mobile sports betting. The governor initially opposed further gaming expansion, but has since changed that opinion in the wake of COVID-19 hurting state tax revenue.