New Jersey Bounces Back with Strong Handle in August
The New Jersey sports betting handle increased 14.9% month-on-month to hit $664.7 million in August, according to the latest state report. It was a quiet month in the sporting calendar, but Garden State bettors wagered $248 million on baseball, with sports like soccer and tennis also proving popular. It actually represented a 0.5% decrease on the handle in August 2020, but the sporting calendar was packed that month after various leagues resumed following the coronavirus lockdown.
Revenue decreased 5.4% from $55 million in July to $52 million in August, as sporting results were more favorable to bettors. More than half of the revenue ($26.8 million) went to the Meadowlands, which hosts FanDuel, PointsBet and SuperBook on its master license. It is highly likely that FanDuel accounted for the bulk of that revenue, as it is the clear market leader in New Jersey. Its retail sportsbook at the Meadowlands made $3.2 million in revenue, making it the best performing land-based sportsbook in the state, according to the report from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
New Jersey’s sports betting handle for 2021 has now reached $6.1 billion. That means it has already outstripped last year’s total of $5 billion, and it is likely to skyrocket in the months ahead after the new NFL season began last weekend. New Jersey’s record monthly handle was $958.7 million in January 2021, but it is likely to smash through the $1 billion barrier this fall.
New Jersey Betting Transactions Soared During NFL Week 1
Data from GeoComply shows that New Jersey had more sports betting transactions than any other state during Week 1 of the NFL season. Bettors install GeoComply software to prove they are located within a state in which sports betting is legal. It is used in tandem with leading online sportsbooks such as FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM. This allows GeoComply to track overall betting transaction levels across the country.
It found that there were 12.5 million transactions on NFL opening weekend in New Jersey, which accounted for 21.4% of all wagers. Pennsylvania was a close second, with 11.5 million transactions and a 19.8% share, followed by Michigan (12.9%). Arizona was fourth, which is impressive when you consider that sports wagering has only just begun in the state, followed by Illinois, Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado and Iowa.
“Preparing for this NFL season has been a process that began before the end of last season, and we expected high volumes, but what we have seen has surprised us nonetheless,” said Lindsay Slader, managing director of gaming for GeoComply. “The level of demand across new markets, such as Arizona, indicates that consumers have long waited for the option to legally place a sports bet. The data tells a remarkable story about the growth of the industry in a short period of time. This success is a credit to all our clients and state regulators, who have worked tirelessly to prepare for the start of the new NFL season.”
More Than 8m Bets Placed
In total, GeoComply data found that there were 8.2 million geolocation transactions across 18 states and the District of Columbia, from Thursday, September 9, through 7pm ET on Sunday, September 12. That represented a 126% increase from Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season, when GeoComply processed 25.8 million transactions.
The kickoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and reigning Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the highest viewing figures for a season opener since 2016, according to Nielsen and NBC. It pitted two elite QBs against one another, and Tom Brady and Dak Prescott were both on fire in a tight 31-29 win for the Bucs. Interest remained high over the weekend, with several exciting games unfolding.
Arizona is seen as a major prize for the sports betting industry, and lots of operators went live when legal wagering began this month. GeoComply handled 6.1 million transactions from more than 271,000 newly created accounts during Week 1 of the NFL season. “Arizona is showing that there is pent up demand for sports betting in the western part of the U.S.,” said Slater. “The state has catapulted near the top as the 4th largest state for transactions, in just its first weekend. We haven’t seen anything quite like it.”
Michigan Rallied in August
Michigan also had a reasonably strong August. Its handle increased 1.1% month-on-month to $208.6 million. However, revenue dipped 15.5% to $17.5 million, according to a new report from the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Yet that still amounted to an 8.4% hold, highlighting just how badly Michigan bettors fared in July. Operators spent $8.3 million on promotions, with the NFL season approaching, meaning the state earned $679,308 in taxes after all deductions.
August marked the first month in which FanDuel did not top the Michigan revenue chart. It was superseded by rival DraftKings, which increased its online handle to $61.4 million, while FanDuel’s handle dropped to $47.7 million. That followed an increased promotional spend for DraftKings, suggesting FanDuel needs to ramp up its bonuses to claw back market share. BetMGM was third in Michigan, with 22.7% of the market, with the remaining 11 sportsbooks sharing just 20.6% of the handle between them.
Illinois Releases July Trading Figures
Illinois reveals its figures around a month later than most other states, so it has only just revealed the July trading performance. Handle dropped 22.5%, from $476.5 million in June to $369.1 million in July. Sportsbooks generated $37.3 million in revenue, which amounted to a 10.1% hold. Sporting results were not kind to bettors across the country in July.
DraftKings was also top of the chart in Illinois, with $122.7 million. That put it narrowly ahead of FanDuel ($118.5 million), followed by BetRivers, PointsBet and Barstool Sportsbook. MLB was the most popular sport, with the Chicago White Sox battling for a postseason place. Overall, Illinois had the third largest handle of any state in July, behind New Jersey and Nevada, but ahead of Pennsylvania and Michigan.