Oscars Betting Proves Fruitful for New Jersey Gaming Industry, Atlantic City Casinos Continue Growth

Posted on: March 14, 2019, 08:05h. 

Last updated on: March 14, 2019, 08:05h.

Oscars betting provided a nice boost to New Jersey sportsbooks’ February win, as oddsmakers kept roughly a quarter of all wagers placed on the outcomes of Hollywood’s biggest night.

Oscars betting New Jersey Atlantic City revenue
“Green Book’s” Best Picture upset of “Roma” at the 2019 Oscars was a win for New Jersey sportsbooks. (Image: Chris Pizzello/AP)

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) reports that oddsmakers took $747,696 in bets on the Academy Awards. The Atlantic City sportsbooks and two facilities located at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park racetracks maintained a more than 24 percent hold for a net win of $182,517.

A small win by the industry’s standards, but nonetheless a win. It won’t offset the $4.5 million the books lost on the Super Bowl – which saw much money come in on the east coast New England Patriots compared to the Los Angeles Rams – but it’s still a promising first-year performance.

“It’s clear the new gaming options and other amenities are continuing to grow the Atlantic City market,” New Jersey Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis declared.

Total gross gaming revenue (GGR) totaled $241.17 million in February, a nearly 26 percent surge on the same month in 2018. Internet gaming maintained its critical role in Atlantic City’s resurgence, with online GGR totaling $31.75 million, a 44.4 percent jump.

Atlantic City Market Expands

Land-based GGR in Atlantic City continues to increase, with the nine casinos collectively reporting a win of $196.7 million from operations last month. That’s a 15.7 percent year-over-year premium.

February was a good month,” Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University told the Press of Atlantic City. “Atlantic City is on an upswing. Visitation is growing, and interest is certainly continuing to rise.”

However, there remains another story to the Atlantic City market. While gross revenue is indeed expanding, six of the seven casinos in operation prior to last June’s openings of Hard Rock and Ocean Resort are suffering.

Bally’s, Borgata, Caesars, Golden Nugget, Harrah’s, and Tropicana have all reported brick-and-mortar declines through the first two months of the year. Only Resorts (+16.2 percent) has seen an upswing. Even when internet gaming and sports betting revenues are included, only Golden Nugget emerges into positive territory.

Borgata remains the richest gaming property in town. The casino’s $54.3 million total win last month represents a more than $4.3 million decrease from February 2018.

Sports Betting Optimism

Though the Super Bowl led to a loss for New Jersey sportsbooks, operators are enthusiastic regarding this month’s March Madness NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Nearly $2 billion has been risked on sporting events since the activity became legal roughly nine months ago. FanDuel said the Super Bowl “vastly exceeded” expectations, and despite the large handle on the Patriots over the Rams, the company is “looking forward to the inaugural March Madness with legal sports betting in New Jersey.”

Online and mobile betting channels continue account for the vast majority of wagers made in the Garden State. Through the first two months of 2019, internet handle accounts for 80 percent of the $705.6 million in ticket slips.