Are Covid Changes To Blame For NJ Sports Betting Handle Declines?

Written By Matthew Waters on August 17, 2022
NJ sports betting

An NJ sports betting trend not seen since the sports world shut down for COVID-19 crept its way back into story.

Sportsbooks reported $531.9 million in handle and $45 million in revenue last month, according to the July revenue report released Tuesday afternoon.

That marked the third straight month that handle fell year-over-year. Outside of the March through June 2020 period, the only other time NJ sportsbooks ever reported a year-over-year dip in handle was August 2021.

How steep are NJ sports betting declines?

The handle declines started in May, when sportsbooks took $766.4 million in bets. That was down 5.9% from $814.3 million last May.

The biggest drop came in June, when bettors wagered $633.2 million. That is a drop of 17.4% from the $766.9 million bet last year.

July’s handle was 8.1% off the $578.7 million bet last year. While it is easy to want to blame the expected cannibalization from mobile New York sports betting for the dip, the cause might be less worrisome than that, though.

COVID still had an impact on schedules this year

NBA and NHL schedules were pushed about a month later than usual in 2021 to account for late finishes in 2020.

That makes the year-over-year comparisons not exactly apples to apples. For example, there were just six NBA Finals games in June this year compared to 45 NBA playoff games in June 2021.

The eight NBA games in July led to $74.7 million in completed basketball bets compared to $33.1 million of the same last month. That $41.7 million disparity nearly accounts for the entire $46.8 million difference in handle between this year’s total and last year’s total.

NY sports betting is lurking

While it is still too early for New Jersey sportsbooks to hit the alarm over New York, that time might be coming.

Mobile New York sportsbooks hit their lowest handle total in July. That was still $800.8 million, though, or 50.5% higher than New Jersey’s monthly total.

The first full season of NFL betting on mobile devices in New York should be key to learning more about the new reality in New Jersey.

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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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