ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., May 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- With few sports to bet on and retail sportsbooks shuttered completely, New Jersey's sportsbooks were out of about $450 million in bets in April, according to PlayNJ estimates. But while sportsbooks and Atlantic City casinos languish, April revenue at online casinos and poker rooms hit a record $80 million.
"Seeing New Jersey's retail sportsbook handle at zero and its land-based casinos generate no revenue is jarring, laying bare just how much these shutdowns are costing the industry," said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. "The jump in revenue from online casinos and poker is welcome, but there is no way yet for it to fully make up for the revenue lost by Atlantic City's casinos and sportsbooks."
New Jersey's sportsbooks collected just $54.6 million in bets in April, according to official reporting. Announced ahead of the second anniversary of the PASPA decision that opened the door to legal gambling in New Jersey, which is on Friday, sportsbooks posted the lowest statewide total since $40.7 million was wagered in June 2018, the first full month of legal sports betting.
April's handle was down 82.6% from $313.7 million in April 2019. Under normal circumstances, New Jersey sportsbooks would have expected a $500 million handle, according to PlayNJ.com.
New Jersey's handle yielded $2.6 million in gross revenue, down 87.7% from $21.2 million in April 2019. That generated $356,726 in state taxes.
"This is the U.S. gaming industry's first full glimpse of the dramatic effect these shutdowns are having because New Jersey was mature enough last year to offer a true year-over-year comparison," Gouker said. "The picture for the industry is not pretty, and that will continue until sports leagues figure out a way to reopen."
With retail sportsbooks shut down entirely in April—potentially wiping out more than $50 million of in-person bets—online sportsbooks accounted for New Jersey's entire handle. FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet led the online market with $1.6 million in gross revenue, down from $5.7 million in March.
Bets on sports that New Jersey categorizes as "other" than football, baseball, and basketball generated $21.7 million in April, up from $14.8 million in April 2019.
"The rise in bets on nontraditional sports has been interesting, and with auto racing and golf appearing closer to starting, that trend could increase," Gouker said. "There are reasons for optimism, too. Hopefully, we will look back at April and see that it was the clear low point."
Online casinos and poker rooms generated $79.96 million in April revenue, up 118.6% from $36.6 million in April 2019.
That revenue yielded $12 million in state taxes. Poker—which has nearly tripled February's revenue—posted a record $5.15 million in April. That was up from $3.6 million in March.
Still, the $43.4 million in year-over-year gains in online casino and poker revenue replaces just 20.9% of the $207.6 million in revenue that land-based casinos in Atlantic City generated in April 2019.
"Such a dramatic shift to digital gambling could permanently alter the market, even after land-based casinos open," said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for PlayNJ.com. "The longer the current closures go on the higher chance there is for a more permanent shift in bettors' preferences for digital gaming."
The Golden Nugget led the market with $27.6 million in revenue.
For more, visit PlayNJ.com/news.
About the PlayUSA.com Network:
The PlayUSA.com Network and its state-focused branches is a leading source for news, analysis, and research related to the market for regulated online gaming in the U.S.