Sports bettors in New Jersey set a record breaking sports betting month, fixing the Garden State’s official place history.
In August, New Jersey set a national record for the most money bet on sports in one month. The record breaking sports betting month saw nearly $668 million in bets on sports including MLB, NBA, and NHL events, which all resumed post-pandemic.
The previous record breaking sports betting month was set in November 2019 by Nevada, when the Silver State raked in $614 million.
August 2020 Proved to Be a Record Breaking Sports Betting Month
This year, the Garden State’s two racetracks and Atlantic City casinos that offer sports betting benefited from the August record breaking sports betting month. After New Jersey’s sportsbooks lost millions of dollars over the spring and summer months because of COVID-19 shutdown, the extra revenue is certainly a welcome relief. Overall, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement shows that the race tracks and won $326.3 million from bettors this August.
A Slow Road to Recovery
“Recovery is underway, even with continued travel advisories that reduce visitors from out of state,” said James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. “Atlantic City’s nine casinos won almost 70% of last August’s robust performance. However, the months are not reasonably comparable because of the COVID-19 restrictions on capacity, entertainment, and amenities.”
Not only did New Jersey’s record breaking sports betting month surpass Nevada’s previous high, but also the previous Garden State record of $562 million set in November 2019. Overall, the numbers proved there was a staggering level of gambling in the Garden State during August.
New Jersey casinos and race tracks reported $39.5 million in revenue during the month, and online gambling raked in $87.7 million, more than twice compared to last year.
Despite Restrictions, New Jersey Casinos and Race Tracks Make Gains
Only two casinos, the Golden Nugget and Ocean Resort, managed to post year-over-year revenue increases. Golden Nugget was up 2.5% to $37 million and Ocean was up 3.7% to $26.6 million.
“Our modest year-over-year gaming revenue increase is a testimony to the momentum Ocean managed to create prior to the forced closure. Our momentum immediately resumed once we were allowed to reopen in July,” said Terry Glebocki, Ocean’s CEO. “We’re very pleased with our August performance despite a less favorable climate, continuing restrictions on occupancy, and no indoor dining until early September.”
Just outside New York City, the Meadowlands Race Track in East Rutherford NJ took in $21.1 million in sports bets, compared with $11.8 million last August. Near the Jersey Shore, Monmouth Park in Oceanport raked in $1.8 million compared to $2 million last August.
Will COVID-19 Restrictions Continue to Throttle Casino Revenue?
“Even with public health and safety protocols in place, there was a big concern that patrons would not yet feel safe visiting the Atlantic City casinos in person. We were afraid there would be a ‘COVID drag’ on the casino industry,” said Jane Bokunewicz, coordinator of a gambling and tourism institute at Stockton University.
Bokunewicz points out the revenue shows “that a significant number of gamblers are willing to gamble in person. Whether this recovery will continue and grow likely will depend on the COVID-19 infection rates in the tri-state area. It will also depend on consumer confidence in the casino safety measures.”
While the experts project that life may never get back to normal, at this point, resuming normal life is more important to many people than fear of the virus. That’s good news for Atlantic City, but the lingering COVID-19 restrictions still need to be lifted. However, the recent record breaking sports betting month is a positive sign for casino life in Atlantic City returning to normal.