New Jersey sportsbooks took a record $385 million in wagers during January as the industry continues to soar in the Garden State. Revenue was down slightly, from $21 million in December to $18.8 million in January, and that is largely down to the New England Patriot’s emphatic Super Bowl win. That result cost Jersey books a small fortune, but they made up for it over the course of the month. The growth in handle is all the more impressive when you consider that there was much less football to bet on in January, and it points to a strong future for the state’s sports betting industry.
DraftKings and FanDuel continue to dominate the nascent New Jersey sports betting market by dwarfing their rivals when it comes to revenue. Both brands built up strong followings among sports fans with their daily sports betting offerings before PASPA was struck down and sports betting could begin. That brand loyalty is now paying off, and Paddy Power Betfair must be pleased with its decision to buy FanDuel. Its Meadowlands site continues to be the best performing land-based sportsbook in the state, attracting New Yorkers that can reach it in under an hour from Manhattan, and it took revenue of almost $1.2 million in January.
The William Hill book at Monmouth Park was in second, with $830,000 in revenue, and then the MGM sportsbook in Atlantic City took $636,000. Then you see a sharp decline as the other retail books earned comparatively paltry sums. Online remains the king and it accounted for 80% of revenue in January, with DraftKings leading the charge. Resorts in Atlantic City hosts digital books from DraftKings and BetStars on its license, and it reported combined revenue of $6.9 million. Most of that will have gone to DraftKings, which was the first to launch in New Jersey.
FanDuel was not far behind, as its digital site reported revenue of $5.85 million in the month, which is well above anything else seen across the state. William Hill powers online sportsbooks at Monmouth Park and Ocean Resort in Atlantic City, and both of those broke through the $1 million revenue barrier in January, but rivals saw very little coming in. Tropicana reported digital revenue of just $196, playMGM at the Borgata made $42,000 and the combined might of Caesars and 888 Sport running on the Bally’s Wild Wild West license could only yield revenue of $260,000. In total digital revenue hit $15.5 million, while retail revenue was $3.3 million.
Rhode Island Eyeing Mobile Sports Betting
Rhode Island has already legalised retail sports wagering and now it wants a piece of the digital action too. On Wednesday, the Rhode Island Senate on Wednesday voted 31-4 in favour of permitting mobile and online sports betting via the Twin River casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton. Sportsbooks at those casinos are run by the state lottery and powered by William Hill. The legislation, which was launched by senate president Dominick Ruggerio, will now go to the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
“The new in-person sportsbook that opened in November has been very popular, with lines sometimes stretching out the doors,” said Ruggerio. “It is an entertainment option that many Rhode Islanders enjoy, and visitors from outside the state are also flocking to our gaming facilities to place their wagers on sporting events. Expanding to mobile gaming would provide a convenient option for those wishing to enjoy this form of entertainment, and open up the economic benefits beyond the walls of Twin River. I can envision a group of friends from out-of-state spending an evening out in a local establishment where they can both watch the game and place a wager.”
Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee All Bidding for Sportsbooks
Rhode Island and New Jersey, along with Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi and New Mexico, have joined Nevada in offering legal sports wagering since the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA, a federal ban, in May 2018. Others are now racing to join the party. In Ohio, Senator John Eklund has launched a bill to introduce sports betting and he is confident in its chances of success. “I think the chances are better than 50-50,” he told Legal Sports Report. “But, remember, I told you that I don’t bet, so I’m not what you would call a reliable handicapper. My feeling – because the number of groups and organisations that have expressed some level of support for this outnumber the groups that have a hell-no attitude – is some measure of confidence that we’ll be able to get it done.”
Eklund added that he did not initially favour online and mobile sports wagering, but he is now backing that too. Down in Tennessee, legislators are wrestling with “how to move forward with legalising the online platforms that facilitate it,” according to the Tennessean. Sports betting is at the front of lawmakers’ minds in Kentucky, where a bill called HB 175 seeks to authorise it. Representative Adam Koenig laid down the case for the bill along with 14 co-sponsors during a committee hearing this week. “It’s part of our culture, not just Kentucky’s culture but America’s culture, and it’s time to bring this issue out of the shadows,” he said. The licensing committee is set to vote on the bill imminently.
Other States Racing Ahead
South Dakota continues to edge closer to permitting sportsbooks in Deadwood. Senate Joint Resolution 2, which aims to launch a 2020 referendum allowing residents to decide whether sports betting can be rolled out in Deadwood, received senate support in an 18-14 vote this week, and it will now head to the House of Representatives. Neighbouring Minnesota is also considering whether to allow sports wagering at tribal casinos. The Safe and Regulated Sports Gambling Act of 2019 is the brainchild of Representative Pat Garofalo. It would allow the 11 federally recognised tribes in Minnesota to run sports betting at their 19 casinos, and Garofolo thinks it will pass during the current session.
Missouri is also considering whether it should legalise sports betting on designated gambling boats. Senator Denny Hoskins has created bill SB 44 to that effect, aiming to charge an initial $10,000 licensing fee, an annual renewal fee of $5,000 and a 12% tax. That is tiny when compared with the $10 million licensing fee and 36% tax that Pennsylvania charges operators. However, operators would also be required to give 0.5% of the gross amount wagered on sports to the Commission at least once per quarter to support facilities in the state, and that would eat into margins. There are rival bills including H 119, S 327, S 195 and S 222, and it will be interesting to see which one gains the most traction as they all propose different frameworks.
Kristian heads up the content and SEO team at Digital Fuel having worked in digital marketing for ten years. He’s as passionate about creative content as he is about Brighton & Hove Albion FC and when he’s not following football he’s writing about Brighton’s bustling pub scene.