New Jersey's sports gambling industry posts record numbers in September

Nevada might be tops but New Jersey is quickly catching up for sports wagering. September was a record month for the Garden State and it shows no signs of slowing down, providing a welcome boost to the state’s budget.

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Football, both college and the NFL, boosted New Jersey’s gaming industry’s bottom line, with the state registering $445 million in total sports wagering in September. This is tops for a single month for the state, who implemented legalized sports gambling in June 2018 and has seen steady growth since.

Last September's sports wagering handle for New Jersey was $183.9 million.

“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,” James Plousis, chairman of the New jersey Casino Control Commission, said.

New Jersey was the second state to legalize sports betting in June 2018 after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA,  that limited sports betting to Nevada for the last 25 years, according to the USA Today Network.

The decision opened a market of state-sanctioned gambling that was expected to lift the fortunes of racetracks and Atlantic City casinos, according to NorthJersey.com. The expectations have, so far, proved to be true. Within 10 months of legalized sports betting, $2.3 billion in wagers had been made, according to the Associated Press. The rapid growth of sports betting led Gov. Phil Murphy to declare that the Garden State would overtake Nevada in sports betting revenue by 2020.

Encouraging for the state is that $38 million of that total came from sports books in the casinos at Atlantic City and New Jersey’s two racetracks. Both industries had struggled for years but have received a boost over the past year with an influx of sports wagering money flowing in.

Ocean, the former Revel casino, had its second-best month in the property’s history, with gambling revenue up 38%, said Michael Donovan, Ocean’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. He said the casino will report third-quarter property records for both revenues and profits when those figures are released later this year.

Rummy Pandit, director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, just outside Atlantic City, said the city’s revenues “continue to show strength, resilience and growth.”

Over the first nine months of this year, sports betting has generated $190.6 million in revenue for the casinos and tracks, compared with just over $40 million in the same period last year, when sports betting was still in its infancy in New Jersey.

Including Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack, the state’s various outlets won $303 million in September off gaming including sports gambling.

And coming off the summer months, the presence of sports gambling helped ease the casinos post-Labor Day.

Even as several casinos posted losses, Atlantic City still saw a “4.1% increase” in revenue from year over last, due to the increased activity at sportsbooks as well as online sports wagering.

Since legalizing sports wagering, New Jersey has reaped the benefits of the state’s appetite for the activity. From June 2018 through this past August, New Jersey has seen a taxable revenue of over $32 million come into their treasury.

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In June 2018, the state’s total sports gambling handle was $16 million, followed by a climb to $40.6 million the next month. It has been a relatively steady climb in revenue since then.

This story contains material from the Associated Press.