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The newest sportsbook in New Jersey has a good chance to be its most profitable.
The FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack opened its windows this weekend, becoming the fourth legal venue in the state. This one is unique, putting NJ sports betting right on the doorstep of New York City. At least 20 million people live within shouting distance of the East Rutherford racetrack.
According to NJTV, bettors at Meadowlands wagered more than $1 million during opening weekend. Is that good?
Well it’s not bad, that’s for sure.
The Meadowlands sportsbook is operated by FanDuel, the large daily fantasy sports site with a sudden appetite for bookmaking. Under the direction of new owner Paddy Power Betfair, FanDuel has secured sports betting deals in West Virginia and New York, too.
In front of a great crowd, the first-ever FanDuel Sportsbook opened on Saturday at 11 a.m. Former Sen. Ray Lesniak was on site to place the ceremonial bet on France to win the World Cup soccer tournament. Winner! Hugo Lloris and company did just that on Sunday.
Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural seemed satisfied with the turnout as he reflected on his expectations with NJTV.
“Our goal was to do over $1 million for the weekend,” he said. “I know we were at $560,000 on Saturday and before I went to sleep last night we were at $465,000 or something for Sunday, so I was very pleased.”
Call it just over half a million per day in handle, which would put Meadowlands on pace with the competition. It’s a good number, but it’s not spectacular considering the proximity to NYC and the efforts of the FanDuel hype machine.
It surpassed Gural’s goal, though, likely spawning some sweet dreams on Sunday evening. The chairman has invested millions to keep Meadowlands afloat in recent years, and this newfound source of revenue provides some immediate relief.
Revenue isn’t reported yet, but given the handle and the less-than-stellar prices on the board, Meadowlands likely cleared around $100,000 during opening weekend.
It’s fruitless to draw serious conclusions from two days of action in a brand new market. The NJ sports betting industry is only partially formed, and the sample size is too small to be relevant. Only four retail sportsbooks are accepting in-person wagers so far.
As far as that partially formed industry goes, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement recently released its June report covering the first 17 days of legal sports betting.
The three reporting sportsbooks combined for about $16 million in total wagers — so around $1 million per day. Monmouth Park is the early front-runner, responsible for about half of the total betting handle and two-thirds of revenue. Prior to this weekend, the track in Oceanport provided the nearest legal option for residents of neighboring states.
Numbers will continue to climb as new operators join the market and online/mobile platforms roll out in the coming months. Electronic wagering figures to constitute the majority of the industry as the market matures.
A look at the calendar helps frame the numbers a little better, too. Meadowlands’ launch happened to coincide with one of the slowest weekends of the entire sporting year. When tennis and soccer are at the top of the board, it’s tough to expect brisk action.
The true test will come during football season, when Meadowlands’ parking lot will fill with NFL fans attending games at the adjacent MetLife Stadium. By then, ticket holders should be able to wager on the handheld version of the FanDuel Sportsbook — or the NJ sportsbook of their choosing — directly from their seats.