NJ Sportsbooks See Handle Drop But Is It New York’s Fault?

Written By Matthew Waters on March 16, 2022
NJ sportsbooks

NJ sportsbooks reported a decline in handle and revenue in February, but that should not immediately be attributed to New York.

February’s slower sports calendar led to the first month of less than a billion dollars bet in New Jersey since August. Bettors wagered $985.6 million and kept all but $30.9 million for a 3.1% hold.

That $30.9 million in sports betting revenue is the lowest total for NJ sportsbooks since July 2020, and might be the most notable data point of the month from New Jersey. July 2020 was the month MLB returned to play as sports were ramping back up following shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic.

Why handle fell for NJ sportsbooks

The 26.9% drop in handle following a record month in January seems high, but it is happening elsewhere in US sports betting.

The Super Bowl does not compare to the handle generated by an extra week of NFL regular-season games and the rest of the playoffs. NJ reported $143.7 million in Super Bowl betting compared to $340.3 million in completed football event handle in January.

The NBA and NHL also take their All-Star breaks in February, creating even fewer betting opportunities in the month.

How do other states compare to New Jersey

The rate of Iowa’s handle decline was even steeper at 28.8% from January.

Tennessee and Indiana saw declines of 18.8% and 18.2%, respectively.

Even the brand-new mobile betting market up in New York saw a 9% handle decline month-over-month.

Except …

There is another data point that suggests New Jersey might be losing some steam.

That $985.6 million bet this February is up 32.7% over last February. That is less than other established markets year-over-year:

  • Tennessee: +77.7%
  • Iowa: +50.3%
  • Indiana: +49.4%

The only clear answer out of February’s results is that it will take an extended amount of time to see the full impact of NY sports betting on New Jersey. That said, results from March Madness betting could tell a lot as well.

Basketball paces NJ sportsbooks

Basketball was New Jersey’s champion in February with $503.1 million bet on completed events during the month.

Football handle was $88.3 million on completed events in February so the other $55.4 million from the Super Bowl is likely accounted for in the $192.1 million worth of completed parlay bets from February.

Another $207.6 million was bet on completed events in the “other” category. That includes everything that is not a bet on baseball, basketball, football or a parlay.

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Matthew Waters

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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