'Other' Accounts For 75% Of Handle
Legal Sports Report

Paltry April NJ Sports Betting Handle Somehow Still Feels Like A Win During Shutdown

NJ sports betting

Everyone was prepared to see the New Jersey sports betting handle drop significantly in April compared with last year. Now, we know how much.

NJ sports betting handle plunged 82.6% to $54.6 million last month compared with the prior year. It’s an unfair comparison, obviously, as there were almost no significant sports last month.

In fact, nearly $55 million wagered with all major American league shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic is somewhat remarkable.

Revenue fell an even higher percentage, 87.6%, to $2.6 million for the month, according to the state’s report.

Handle for 2020, so far, is now down 8.6% to $1.27 billion compared with last year. Revenue, however, is on the positive side thanks to a strong January and is up 2.3% to $86.4 million.

‘Other’ category rules NJ sports betting

New Jersey doesn’t technically report handle per sport for each month but does include year-to-date completed events handle in every report.

That completed events handle rose $40.9 million compared with the total reported in March. That’s good for 75% of all bets in April.

Typically, that category would include soccer, hockey and tennis, three sports that take in decent handle. But there was very little of that in NJ sports betting in April.

Instead, the other betting last month was basically table tennis, darts and esports, like the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational.

NFL Draft totals

We can also deduce how much handle sportsbooks took on the NFL Draft.

The year-to-date total handle on completed football events rose $4.4 million in April over March. While small, it’s more than five times more than the handle on last year’s draft.

Completed football event handle rose just $871,545 for the four months ending in April last year compared with March 2019’s total. That leaves $4.9 million bet on futures last month. But there’s no way to track where exactly those futures dollars went until the events are completed.

Overall, the year-to-date completed events handle rose $49.7 million in April.

Sports betting dollars moving to iGaming?

One online option that wasn’t limited, like sports betting, last month was iGaming.

Online casino revenue was already growing thanks to the cross-selling from sports betting. But April’s total of $80 million in revenue jumped 23.4% over March’s record $64.8 million in revenue.

April revenue was more than double year over year from $36.6 million.

Sports bettors tend to prefer table games when it comes to other casino activities, which includes online poker. Poker revenue rose 41.9% over March to $5.1 million. And it more than tripled compared with last April’s $1.7 million.

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- Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.
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