January 17, 2022 Sports Betting, Online, Land Based

New Jersey finishes a strong 2021 with a strong December

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It was a record-setting year, but there may be trouble on the horizon.

New Jersey’s December was a successful one for operators across the board. Retail sportsbooks reached over $1bn in wagers for the fourth month in a row, online casinos hit a record $133m in revenue, and land-based operators in Atlantic City continued their recovery after the pandemic-induced trauma.  

Despite the good news, analysts in the Garden State are slightly wary of 2022, for there is a 600-pound gorilla who just moved in next door and her name is the state of New York.  

But that’s this year’s problem, and it doesn’t take away from what was an impressive closing to an impressive year.  

Online and retail sportsbooks saw a combined $1.23bn in wagers over the last month of the year, just shy of the overall record which had been set in October.  

When seen in terms of year-on-year growth, sports handle was up 23.4% from December 2020, signifying robust growth in the industry at large.  

In some bad news for the sportsbooks, though, bettors did pretty well last month, winning $114.8m. The $59m that sportsbooks saw in gross revenue was down 11.1% from the previous December.  

This revenue brought $8.9m in state and local taxes.  

In the world of online casinos, the record-breaking month ($133.2m in revenue, to be exact) was up 25.3% from the $99.5m seen in December 2020. 

All told, this was a cap to an excellent year in New Jersey. Annual wager volume reached $10.9bn, which was higher than any other state in the country. All of these bets led to $815.8m in gross revenue, a nearly 100% improvement on what had been seen in 2020. This number of bets produced $122m in state and local taxes, an over 100% improvement on the year before.  

And it’s not just online operators. The Casino Association of New Jersey announced that Atlantic City saw modest growth despite the pandemic persistently keeping some players away.  

Altogether, operators in the city generated $422m in tax revenue for the state, underscoring the city’s continued importance in the New Jersey gaming landscape. 

There is trouble on the horizon, though. Part of the reason New Jersey has such consistently high numbers and reliable growth is because it has benefitted from the illegal status of mobile betting and online casinos across the river in New York. 

While that latter continues to be illegal, the same cannot be said for mobile sports betting. Two weeks ago, it went live in the Empire State in a resoundingly popular and profitable way.  

New Jersey is going to be facing some stiff competition in the new year.

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