online casinos and poker rooms in New Jersey are making headway towards generating a whopping $1 billion in annual revenue, a milestone that’s yet to be achieved by any USA state to date. In August, the Garden State’s online casinos and poker rooms generated a total of $113.2 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR).
Compared to the $87.8 million garnered in August 2020, last month’s GGR was 29.0% higher and a slight 4.6% dip from July’s record $118.7 million win. The numbers were released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) on Thursday, September 16th.
Overall, for the first eight months of 2021, the volume of iGaming revenue in New Jersey has hit a whopping $886.1 million. Should the monthly performance maintain its current pace, online casinos and poker rooms in NJ are expected to blow past 2020’s annual record of $970.4 million in September. Come October, it is almost certain that the state’s yearly revenue will cross the ten-figure mark for the very first time.
On this, Eric Ramsey, an analyst from the PlayUSA Network, commented on the Garden State’s iGaming performance, saying:
“The state’s online casinos continue to churn out $100 million-plus revenue months, month after month, and August’s growth shows just a hint of what is to come for sports betting. Now the state’s sportsbooks and online casinos are both poised to reach heights that not long ago were thought to be impossible.”
New Jersey’s Winning Streak Continues
August’s stellar performance is the sixth consecutive month that online casinos and poker rooms have generated over $100 million in GGR. Should this trend stay as it is to the end of the year, there’s a good chance that annual revenue could come close to tripling what New Jersey’s iGaming saw in 2019.
Indeed, this shining performance is a good sign for the future of iGaming in the Garden State. NJ’s online gambling received a boost from the dynamics of the Coronavirus pandemic for the better part of last year, and the momentum doesn’t seem like it will be slowing down any time soon. According to Ramsey, the current iGaming shift might just be permanent as gamblers continue getting used to internet gaming. He added that:
“This year’s revenue could end up nearly tripling the revenue gained in all of 2019, which is remarkable to think about. The behavior change we saw last year appears long-lasting and perhaps even permanent. While there are some bumps in the road ahead for sports betting, including increased competition from neighbors, it appears there is not much that will slow down online casinos.”
Looking at the performance for NJ’s iGaming operators, here’s a highlight of the three platforms that generated the most revenue last month, compared to August 2020:
- Borgata (including the BetMGM brand) – $37.2 million (August 2020: $19.7 million)
- Golden Nugget Online Gaming – $29.7 million ($27.6 million)
- Resorts Digital – $21.6 million ($17.8 million)
NJ Sportsbooks Have Already Bested Last Year’s $6.0 Billion Annual Handle
Moving on to sports betting, the total handle seen by New Jersey sportsbooks in August hit $664.7 million, a 14.9% month-over-month surge from July’s $578.7 million. However, the August handle ended up being 0.5% less than what sports bettors spent for the same period last year.
While the last month’s handle failed to match up to August 2020, the Garden State still ended up cracking a new milestone. So far in 2021, NJ sports bettors have spent a total of $6.1 billion in wagers, effectively crushing the $6.0 billion record handle the state saw for the entire year last year.
As for the sports betting GGR, the figures contrasted the trend experienced with the magnitude of wagers. There was a 31.7% year over year GGR jump, from last year’s $39.5 million to $52.0 million in August 2021 – which on the other hand, is 5.4% less than the $55.0 million won in July. Meanwhile, from the said sports betting activity, a total of $7.9 million in taxes was generated for local and state coffers.
In August, baseball was the most popular sport, bringing in a $248.0 million handle, 26.9% more than July’s $195.4 million. On the other hand, football, which is America’s favorite sport, only pulled a $27.5 million handle, which is expected as August is usually its slowest month of the year.
Thankfully, with September having a full slate of sporting events, including the NFL season kick-off and college football, the US sports betting sector expects an interesting shakeup. With such a rich sporting calendar in September, industry analysts forecast that it will be the month when the Garden State will finally break the billion-dollar monthly handle barrier. Up until now, no state has collected $1 billion in sports wagers in a single month. The highest monthly record to date is the $996.3 million handle that New Jersey recorded in December 2020, the last full month of the regular NFL season.
Valerie Cross, another analyst from the PlayUSA Network, shared her optimism for sports betting for the remainder of the year, especially given that the NFL season is back. She said:
“With only a few college and NFL preseason games, August still showed the outsized effect football has on the sports-betting industry. Even if September falls short of $1 billion in wagering, we will likely get there before the end of the year.”