March Madness drives New Jersey to sports betting record


new-jersey-sports-betting-march-madnessNew Jersey’s regulated sports betting market set a new revenue record in March thanks mainly to a certain college basketball tournament.

Figures released Friday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) show the state’s licensed sportsbooks earned a record $31.9m in March, up from just $12.7m in February and significantly higher than the previous record of $24m set last September.

A reminder that the DGE includes ‘pending wagers’ as revenue, and since a lot of wagers would have been placed on the latter stages of the NCAA March Madness basketball schedule, which didn’t take place until April, so the March revenue figure likely got a little ‘wind assist’ here.

Regardless, betting handle hit $372.4m in March, second only to the $385m the books handled in January. Of this sum, $298.3m (80%) was wagered via digital channels, roughly the same percentage reported in each month this year. The state’s books have already handled nearly $1.1b worth of wagers through the first three months of 2019.

The Meadowlands (and its FanDuel technology partner) was the undisputed betting revenue leader in March, claiming $17.6m, or 45% of the statewide total. Of this sum, $13.3m was generated online, which is $5.3m more than the Meadowlands/FanDuel combo reported in total betting revenue just one month earlier.

Resorts Digital Gaming, whose betting operations include FanDuel’s archrival DraftKings as well as The Stars Group’s BetStars brand, reported revenue of nearly $7.3m, a healthy rebound from February’s $3.7m but only slightly higher than January’s $6.9m. The Resorts Casino Hotel’s land-based sportsbook added another $85k, barely half February’s land-based take and barely one-third the sum earned in January.

Monmouth Park, the state’s other racetrack-based sportsbook, was a distant third with $2.65m, of which nearly $1.7m came online. The Ocean Resort Casino (now the Ocean Casino Resort) ranked highest among Atlantic City casino operators with a personal best of just under $2m.

No other operator topped $1m in betting revenue in March, with the Borgata coming closest with $853k, which was eminently more respectable than the $753k loss the casino reported in February. The Golden Nugget, which lost $125k in February, was also back in black with $192m last month.

Pointsbet, which operates online under the Meadowlands’ betting permit, announced a new ‘Game Day Guarantee’ this month. The site will honor a minimum bet-to-win amount of $10k for all customers on game day, be it Major League Baseball games, NBA or NHL playoff matchups or the upcoming NFL season.

Pointsbet says the guarantee is a way of keeping ‘sharp’ high-rollers from drifting away from New Jersey-licensed sites to the less limiting options provided by internationally licensed betting sites that continue to take US action. It’s an admirable stance, but it remains to be seen how many times Pointsbet can stand being kicked in the goolies by these sharp-toed bettors before this guarantee goes the way of the dodo.