New Jersey Sportsbooks Score Record Month, September Handle Totals $445M

Posted on: October 16, 2019, 07:56h. 

Last updated on: October 16, 2019, 11:16h.

New Jersey sportsbooks took $445.5 million in wagers in September, which is their highest monthly haul since the state welcomed its first sports bet in June of 2018.

New Jersey sportsbook Atlantic City GGR
The Meadowlands New Jersey sportsbook reported gross gaming revenue of $16.9 million last month, making it the winningest book in the state. (Image: Mitsu Yasukawa/North Jersey)

Data from the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) shows that sports betting played a pivotal role for Atlantic City’s nine casinos and the state’s two horse racetracks. Casino oddsmakers won $17.5 million, while the racetrack operators won $20.3 million on sports gambling.

Sports betting helped offset what would have otherwise been a down month. Land-based slot machine win tumbled 4.5 percent – a more than $7.5 million loss – and table games were essentially flat. Brick-and-mortar casino win for the Atlantic City venues fell 3.2 percent to $224.5 million.

But with internet casinos and sports betting, Atlantic City posted a 4.1 percent year-over-year gain. Add in sports win from Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands, and New Jersey’s collective gaming industry reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $303.5 million in September, a 7.8 percent gain on the same month in 2018.

The Garden State has quickly become the nation’s richest sports betting market. New Jersey’s $445.5 million September handle far outpaces Nevada’s $288 million in bets placed in August. Statistics for the Silver State haven’t yet been released for September.

Shore Troubles

Hard Rock and Ocean Casino opened their reimagined Boardwalk resorts in late June 2018. Once again a nine-casino town, market observers hoped the two new property openings would fuel an influx in visitor arrivals.

More than a year later, it appears the two casino floors are simply poaching play away from the seven previously in operation. Excluding internet and sports betting GGRs, all seven reported reduced September land-based casino revenue.

Casino September GGR Percent Decline

Bally’s $14.56 million -12.5

Borgata $57.44 million -5.1

Caesars $19.31 million -15.7

Golden Nugget $$16.19 million -11.4

Harrah’s $26.49 million -2.0

Resorts $14.71 million -6.9

Tropicana $25.52 million -14.7

In 2018, January through September for the seven aforementioned casinos totaled $1,745,282,521. Through last month in 2019, that number stands at $1,644,747,026 – a 5.76 percent decline, or $100.539 million.

Everything Fine?

The decline in per-casino GGR win at their physical properties is leading to reduced operating profits. The DGE second quarter report revealed that gross operating profits are down 16.8 percent for the nine licensed operators.

Despite that fact, New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chair James Plousis told the Associated Press the state gaming industry is strong.

While operators continue to face strong competition for gaming and leisure customers, the increase in total gaming revenue shows the industry has grown for the betterment of both Atlantic City and New Jersey as a whole,” Plousis declared.

Not everyone agrees. Billionaire Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta opined recently that Atlantic City isn’t capable of supporting nine casinos. The owner of the NBA Houston Rockets said “none of the casinos have the cash flow that they did” before Hard Rock and Ocean Resort.