By WAYNE PARRY
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s red-hot sports betting industry smashed its own national record in October for the highest amount of bets taken in a single month, topping $1.3 billion.
That figure easily surpassed the $1.01 billion worth of bets that Atlantic City’s nine casinos and the three horse tracks that offer sports betting took in September.
And it also emphasizes just how much is at stake in a looming cross-border war for sports betting dollars once New York state offers mobile sports betting. Earlier this month, New York chose vendors to offer mobile sports betting with the goal of having it up and running before the Super Bowl in February.
Nearly $1.2 billion of the $1.3 billion New Jersey outlets handled in October was wagered online.
Over the first 10 months of this year, New Jersey has taken in nearly $8.5 billion worth of sports bets.”
“Sports betting has swelled with the start of the NFL season, and realized another month of over $1 billion in handle,” said Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City gambling industry. “October 2021’s record sports wagering handle proves that September was not a flash in the pan, but rather the first sign of a new level of sports betting participation, at least during the NFL season.”
Figures released Wednesday by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show the casinos and tracks collectively won over $448 million in October, including in-person gambling, internet gambling and sports betting. That represents an increase of nearly 33% from October 2020.
Internet gambling accounted for $127 million, up almost 36% from a year ago, and sports betting revenue — after winning bets were paid out and other expenses accounted for — was $84.1 million, up nearly 44% from last October.
“Atlantic City has effectively extended its momentum from the summer into the fall season,” said James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. “Five casino-hotels surpassed their brick and mortar results from October 2019 and the other four were within striking distance. All of the operators have the tools that are needed to successfully compete in this market.”
More than half the sports betting revenue made in New Jersey in October was done at the Meadowlands Racetrack in east Rutherford, just outside New York City. It won over $44 million for the month, easily outpacing Freehold Raceway (just under $7 million) and Monmouth Park in Oceanport near the Jersey Shore ($4.5 million).
In-person casino winnings were $237 million in October, nearly 28% higher than a year ago.
The Borgata showed the biggest increase, at nearly 61%, to $108.5 million. Golden Nugget was up nearly 35% to $14.3 million; Resorts was up over 27% to $14.6 million, and Hard Rock was up over 25% to $44.3 million.
Harrah’s was up nearly 25% to $24.3 million; Caesars was up 14.6% to $8.9 million; Tropicana was up 14.3% to $31.1 million; Bally’s was up 12.6% to nearly $13 million, and the Ocean Casino Resort was up over 10% to $32.1 million.
Hard Rock president Joe Lupo said his casino posted the biggest increase in in-person gambling revenue in the city in October compared to October 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Hard Rock was up $13 million, Ocean was up $12 million and Borgata was up $10 million over that time frame.
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