Gaming milestones are still set in the state of New Jersey, with online casinos and poker rooms witnessing a monthly sales boom of $85.9 million. But although online sportsbooks more than doubled the combined handle of the State in May, according to PlayNJ figures, they still fell short of an ordinary May by nearly $400 m.
Even with most big professional sports shuttered in the US and casinos and retail sportsbooks closed at Atlantic City, online sportsbooks in New Jersey still managed to raise monthly handling to $117.8 m.
The total increased by 115.8 percent from April’s $54.6 m. Even with the leap, May’s handle is down 63.1 percent from $318.9 m in May 2019 and still well short of the more than $500 m bets it would have made in an ordinary May, PlayNJ estimates.
PlayNJ.com lead analyst Dustin Gouker noted: “May’s increase is a positive sign, but until major professional sports resume and Atlantic City casinos reopen, the gaming industry will look nowhere near normal.
“But optimism can be found with DraftKings, which has become a darling of Wall Street since it became a publicly traded company. That shows just how much confidence investors have in the future of sports betting.”
May’s bets yielded a surprising $9.9 million in gross revenue, down 36.1 percent from $15.5 million in April 2019 and more than tripling the $2.6 million in April 2020, yielding $1.3 million in government taxes.
PlayNJ analyst Eric Ramsey said: “The bottom line sports betting numbers aren’t pretty, but there is a silver lining in how online sportsbooks have managed to survive these shutdowns.”
“New Jersey’s operators have been creative in keeping bettors engaged and sportsbooks generating revenue, even when fringe sports are the only real attraction. Thanks to some imagination, it appears online sportsbooks will help the industry get through this.”
Without retail sportsbooks, leaving a $55 m void in May’s handle, online sportsbooks have become the state’s only revenue producer. FanDuel Sportsbook / PointsBet led the market with gross revenues of $4.3 m , up from April’s $1.65 m.
While online sportsbooks scraped in May to once again attract bettors, the future is brighter. This week, the PGA Tour and boxing each reopened, offering bettors another option in the short term. And the reopenings of July were signed by the NBA and MLS.
Gouker added: “We are just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Retail sports betting will take time to return even after reopening. But the path to recovery for online sportsbooks is simple: Sports need to come back. That is finally starting to happen.”
Ramsey, reflecting on the immediate outlook commented: “Land-based gambling revenue almost certainly won’t return in June, and it will take some time to recover while Atlantic City casinos presumably navigate reduced capacity and relatively weak tourism demand.
“Because of that, online casinos will continue to be relied upon to bridge the revenue gap. Even if online revenue can’t fully replace what has been lost from the shutdown, the overall gaming industry would be in much worse shape without it.”