Written by Chris Monti•
New Jersey Sports books Make Flying Start to 2020
New Jersey Sportsbooks Make Flying Start to 2020
New Jersey sportsbooks began 2020 with a flourish by earning record-breaking revenue of $53.6 million in January. Sports bettors wagered a total of $540 million during the month, which was down from $557.8 million the previous month. However, a number of results went against the bettors and the sportsbooks were left with a hold percentage of almost 10%.
The Garden State sports betting handle peaked at $562.7 million in November. It has seen slight month-on-month decreases since then, and that can be attributed to a decrease in the number of big football games to bet on. In January, the NFL playoffs were raging on and the college bowl games were also taking place, but the overall volume of action was smaller.
Basketball was the most popular sport among bettors in New Jersey last month, as it made up $177.5 million of the handle. Football was next at $129 million. The state refers to parlays as a separate category, and they accounted for $99.2 million in January. The books typically make the most money on parlays, and they held $18.9 million of that sum in January, for a win percentage of 19.1%.
The win percentage on football was 7.9% and on basketball, it was 5.3%. The “other” category, which includes soccer, tennis, boxing, UFC and any other sport, saw $121.4 million in wagers. The sportsbook win percentage there was 4.6%. Parlays were, therefore, the main driving force behind the books’ strong performance in January, which is worth bearing in mind next time you consider putting on such a bet.
FanDuel Starts Strong
The Meadowlands once again emerged as the clear market leader in the New Jersey sports betting sector. It accounted for $26.5 million of the revenue, which is roughly half. Both FanDuel and PointsBet operate on the Meadowlands license, but the vast majority of that revenue will go to FanDuel, which is the top dog in Jersey.
It has offered attractive bonus offers to bettors in a bid to seize a large market share, so we should not confuse revenue with profit. It will take some time before the leading US sportsbooks start making a profit, as right now they are speculating to accumulate.
DraftKings was the first online sportsbook to launch in the Garden State, but it has had to content itself with the runner-up status in terms of handle and revenue. It is tied to the Resorts Digital license, along with Fox Bet – a collaboration between Fox and The Stars Group – and Resorts reported $15.9 million in revenue during January, with DraftKings probably taking the lion’s share of that.
DraftKings is poised to buy SBTech and then go public as part of a three-way merger with Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company founded by the former chairman of Hollywood studio MGM, Harry Sloan, and film producer Jeff Sagansky. That could give it more clout to compete with the might of FanDuel, which is part of the Flutter Entertainment empire, along with Paddy Power and Betfair.
Flutter is also planning a big piece of industry consolidation this year as it prepares to buy The Stars Group. It would create the world’s largest gambling company, bringing FanDuel and Fox Bet under the same umbrella. However, there are competition concerns in the UK, as The Stars Group also owns Sky Bet, and that could allow it to hold too dominant a position.
William Hill Shows Ambition
Monmouth Park, which has William Hill, Rush Street and TheScore on its license, was a distant third with $3.7 million in revenue during January. Borgata was fourth with $3.3 million and then Ocean, which also works with William Hill, came in fifth with $2.3 million. Online casino revenue also shot up in the state, surging past the $50 million mark for the first time and capping a great month for New Jersey operators.
William Hill US signed a deal to become the official sportsbook and wagering data provider for all CBS Sports channels this week. That will see its branding featured heavily on college basketball games and next season’s NFL games, which could help its efforts to see off competition from FanDuel and DraftKings and establish itself as the market leader in the US. It is already the main player in Nevada, and it runs the sports betting monopolies in Delaware and Rhode Island.
“CBS Sports, similar to William Hill, has a longstanding history of connecting fans directly to the biggest events and most iconic moments in sports,” said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US. “We are excited about this partnership, with assets including mass-reach digital content products, one of the largest fantasy sports databases and platforms in the world, and leading sports television programming, which will allow us to expand the William Hill brand across America quickly and efficiently.”
Could Washington State Join the Party Next?
Nevada held onto its crown as the leading state for sports betting in 2019, after posting a higher handle than New Jersey in nine out of 12 months. However, its handle has never been higher than $500 million in January, so it could start 2020 in second place. A total of 19 states have joined Nevada in legalizing sports wagering since PASPA was struck down in May 2018, and several others are going through the legislative motions right now.
A bill that would legalize sports wagering at tribal casino properties in Washington State was overwhelmingly approved in a full House floor vote on Thursday night. HB 2638 passed through the House Appropriation Committee in a 25-7 bipartisan vote on Wednesday. Rep. Drew Stokesbary, the ranking Republican in the Appropriation Committee, voted in favor of the proposal, sparking optimism that it might gain the 60% majority required to succeed in the full floor vote.
A full floor vote was then quickly arranged, and it secured an overwhelming majority. A companion bill, SB 6394, would also need to gain approval in the Senate before the legislation could be sent to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee to sign it into law. There is a deadline if March 13 for it to go through the Senate and reach Islee’s desk, but that now seems achievable.
HB 2638 would permit retail sportsbooks to spring up across the state, but online sports betting would only be possible within the confines of the tribal casinos. It covers professional and collegiate sporting events, apart from college games involving teams from the state.
Washington state has strict anti-gambling laws, but southern neighbor Oregon now permits sports wagering. That means residents can cross over the border to place wagers in a safe, legal setting, while to the east Montana has also legalized sports betting. That has piled pressure on Washington to act, and full legalization during the current legislative session now looks likely.