Like two Olympic skaters sprinting for gold, New Jersey and New York are competing for the lead in the nation’s booming sports-betting market while racing in their own lanes.
Any concern that New York’s extraordinarily successful debut of mobile sports betting would diminish New Jersey’s market share all but vanished on Wednesday (February 16) as the Garden State reported more than $1.35bn in total sports wagering handle for January.
Not only did New Jersey set a new record last month by topping its previous high of $1.30bn in November 2021, but the Garden State also increased its handle of $1.20bn in December 2021 by more than 11 percent, despite the added competition from across the Hudson River.
The sports-betting handle in New Jersey last month also was up 40 percent on January 2021, even though revenue was down 27 percent to $60.2m because of significantly lower hold.
Revenue from internet casino gaming was also a record $137.8m in January, up more than 32 percent on the prior year.
New York, which did not launch mobile sports betting until January 8, still won the first month of the year by setting a national record with a staggering $1.6bn in handle for the 23 days through January 30.
There is little doubt that New Jersey and New York are emerging as the Twin Towers among sports-betting states, with clear daylight between the pair and Nevada, Pennsylvania and third-placed Illinois.
“Being more populated (20.2m) than New Jersey (9.3m) and benefiting from the lessons learned by New Jersey operators, it is not surprising that New York is already a major player in the online sports wagering market so soon after launch,” said Jane Bokunewicz, faculty director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute of Gaming at Stockton University near Atlantic City.
“It may be many months yet before a clear picture of how the New York and New Jersey mobile sports-betting markets will coexist especially in the context of markets in other neighboring states,” Bokunewicz said.
Bokunewicz has cited tax rates on sports-betting revenue as a big advantage New Jersey enjoys over New York.
New York’s tax rate is the highest in the nation at 51 percent compared with New Jersey’ 9.75 percent tax rate on retail sports betting and 14.25 percent on wagers online.
In theory, that should allow New Jersey operators to sustain more aggressive bonusing policies and offer a wider range of free bets and other promotions to incentivize New Yorkers to place wagers from the Garden State.
Despite the bullish outlook for sports betting in New Jersey after January’s numbers, Michael Busler, a finance professor at Stockton University, said it may be too early to celebrate.
“With New York and Pennsylvania now offering sports wagering, it will be difficult for New Jersey to increase revenue,” Busler said.
In figures released on Wednesday, Pennsylvania reported more than $68m in sports-betting handle for the Super Bowl on Sunday (February 13). Online wagers accounted for almost 90 percent of the handle.
Pennsylvania’s total this year surpassed the handle of $53.6m in 2021 by almost 27 percent. Still, it was significantly less than the $143.7m bet on the Big Game in neighboring New Jersey or the $179.8m wagered in Nevada.
New York Super Bowl betting handle should be published on Friday, when the state is set to next release weekly sports wagering statistics.
Additional reporting by James Kilsby and Daniel Stone.