It was a down month in December, slightly, for the New Jersey sportsbooks in terms of overall betting handle and gross gaming revenue after a 2018 high of $330.7 million in November.
The December betting handle for the brick-and-mortar and online sportsbooks collectively reached $319,173,548 and gross gaming revenue across the books of $20.8 million, good for a 6.5 hold percentage, one-tenth higher than the 6.4 percent in November, when the sportsbooks collected a combined $21.2 million revenue.
Once again, patrons flocked to mobile/online sportsbooks, making $241 million in bets over the internet versus $78 million worth of wagers in person. That’s more than three-quarters (75.5 percent) of the overall betting handle.
For the year as a whole, New Jersey sportsbooks’ handle crossed into three comma territory, with $1,247,290,341 wagers since the market was born in mid-June, with only three brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in the early going and online books coming online beginning in August.
Explaining the December dip
It’s pretty cold in New Jersey with average temperature ranging from the 20 degrees to low 40 degrees. That’s fireplace-and-jacket weather, and residents avoid the roads when there’s a snowstorm, as there was in early December when roadways ground to a halt in Northern Jersey.
While there was one more week of NFL action in December compared with November, there was less college football, although December did see most of the bowl season.
One more factor: Several Pennsylvania sportsbooks, including the SugarHouse sportsbook near Philadelphia, opened in mid-December. There have been numerous accounts of Pennsylvania-based bettors making a round trips into Jersey on Saturdays and Sundays to put down their wagers. They can stay closer to home now.
Those three combined factors mostly explain the drop from $92 million in-person wagers in November to $78 million in December, with that $14 million accounting for the month-over-month difference.
The online handle did not actually drop, though. In November, bettors placed $238.6 million in bets online. In December, that figure rose to $241 million.
DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbooks dominate again
Now let’s take a look at which sportsbooks led the way in December. DraftKings and FanDuel again? Correct.
Online sports betting monthly gross revenue:
- Resorts Digital (DraftKings Sportsbook and BetStars NJ): $6,690,969
- Meadowlands Racetrack (FanDuel Sportsbook and Pointsbet): $5,532,837
- Monmouth Park (William Hill and SugarHouse): $1,296,34
- Ocean Resort (William Hill): $1,044,026
- Bally’s (Caesars and 888): $108,892
- Borgata (playMGM): ($22,436)
And on the brick-and-mortar front, Meadowlands’ FanDuel Sportsbook led the way with $3,577,177, with Monmouth Park collecting $1,031,336 and Ocean Resort $633,857, both of the latter of which are run by William Hill US.
How the sportsbooks fared by sport
Take a look at this chart:
The total 2018 betting handle on football was $501 million, parlay wagers $203 million and basketball shortly behind at $192 million.
Parlay wagers, favorable wagers for the house and higher upside for the bettor, produced $22.5 million in revenue for the year, while football — surely incorporated into most of those parlays — finished just behind with $22.3 million.
In the U.S., football is the king of sports betting, however consider that the NBA season started in mid-October, while NCAA basketball tipped off in early November. Combined, they generated nearly $200 million in handle.
The hold percentage on football was 4.4 percent vs. 5.4 percent for basketball. Altogether, the sportsbooks held 5.8 percent of all wagers — on completed events. There remains about $20 million in outstanding wagers. If we count that as revenue according to state’s accrual method of accounting, which considers those wagers as revenue at the time the bets are placed, the 2018 hold percentage would be 7.6. But some of those undecided futures bets will become winners and will cut down that hold percentage.
All in all, a wild and exciting year for sportsbooks and sports bettors alike in 2018. With the Super Bowl and March Madness on the horizon, we anticipate these numbers will hold steady before a dip in the spring.