Though New Jersey lawmakers and the gaming experts were expecting significant revenues, online gaming exceeded their hopes. Yet, players still managed to find scores of options to bet on and neutralize the blow of overall decreasing revenue in June.
The Closures Took a Toll
Like all the other states, New Jersey was also obliged to shut down their casinos due to the pandemic-led lockdowns. Obviously, three months of closure led to the sudden decline of the casino industry, with revenue drops of over 65%.
Yet, it was not that bad as online gambling revenue really began to soar, particularly in June. Online casinos in New Jersey brought in revenues of around $84.9 million in June, compared to $38.1 million during the same period last year.
In total, there were around $165 million in sports wagers placed in June. The total was a 40% increase over that of May and around triple that of April. While commenting on the impressive figures, the Chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, James Plousis, said:
“June was the last full month of casino closures, and the numbers reflect the historic business disruption… Now that casinos have started welcoming back visitors with appropriate limits, Atlantic City has embarked on the path to recovery.”
What Were Bettors Playing On?
Players looked to try their luck at various events. In particular, Korean baseball, MMA cards from the UFC, and European soccer were what brought these numbers up. NASCAR and some other fringe sports also played a significant part.
Undoubtedly, these are not the conventional sports and events that most players usually wager on. However, the lack of choices made these sports and events the Hobson’s choice, and eventually popular among bettors.
In the remaining month of July into August, it seems like bettors are about to indulge in many events to start wagering on.
As MLS is now officially back in action, with MLB gearing up to kick off the regular season, and with NHL to start playing from August 1st, sports betting seems to show steady return to normalcy.
There is much to celebrate for those who have been worried to get back into sports betting, and also for the casinos and sportsbooks that have been bearing the brunt of the pandemic so far.
How Will 2020 Play Out?
The million dollars question still remains, and that is: whether or not New Jersey can emerge from those three months of dismal showings. Will it manage to fill the holes created by the pandemic-led lockdowns during the rest of 2020?
Currently, it looks unlikely. But still, we cannot say it’s impossible. In general, the New Jersey sports betting industry has been able to draw $4.6 billion in handle over the course of 2019.
Indeed, 2020 is still far behind that total. However, the NFL will help, as it is a usual big draw for those looking to place sports bets. If it returns to play as scheduled and complete season, New Jersey’s gambling revenue will be tending toward the path to recovery.