While 2020 was challenging for most people, as well as creating disruption across almost every industry, not every sector or market segment suffered.
A quick look at the stats for sports betting revenues achieved in New Jersey will prove that, with licensed operators raking in record amounts of cash, as residents wagered more money than ever before. Here is a deep dive into the intriguing figures, and an exploration of what they mean and why this industry looks set to continue growing in 2021 and beyond.
A Good Year that Gathered Momentum
As outlined in this expert guide to NJ sports betting, a large number of betting sites have sprung up in the three years since the practice was legalized by the state government, and collectively the people of New Jersey wagered $6 billion over the course of 2020.
This figure is all the more significant because it eclipsed the $5.3 billion wagered in Nevada over the past 12 months, showing that while NJ has only been on the scene for a short amount of time, it has already managed to outpace the more established market on the other side of the country.
Interestingly enough, official figures also point to the fact that NJ residents are not as experienced in the world of sports betting as some of their counterparts elsewhere, since they actually lost more cash on wagers made than anywhere else.
The momentum gathered by the industry in 2020 is easy to track, since by December almost $1 billion was being wagered every 30 days.
Increases like this on a month-on-month basis are a sure sign that it is sensible to be confident in the future growth of sports betting.
Of course it is worth noting that total wagered amounts are not equivalent to actual revenues that sportsbook operators generate; while plenty of people lose, there are also big payouts for winners. The monthly average for revenues was around $50 million dollars last year, with earnings recovering after the pandemic temporarily prevented live sporting events from taking place.
It is also worth mentioning that the state coffers have been filled significantly by taxes generated from sports betting revenues. Operators were collectively handing over around $6 million a month, and this shows the positive economic impact that legalized, regulated and fully taxed gambling operations can have.
The Power of Online Sports Betting
The aforementioned disruption resulting from the Coronavirus, which hampered so many industries and yet allowed sports betting in particular and online gambling more generally to flourish in states like NJ where legalization was pushed through, paints an interesting picture of the power balance in a post-pandemic world.
Regulators require that brick and mortar casino operators are the only organizations able to launch online betting brands, and this single aspect of legislation was the saving grace of the sector in 2020. While land-based casinos and sports betting venues had to close their doors, then re-open with limited capacities, their online equivalents were making bank. And because these incumbent brands were necessarily behind the web-powered platforms, they were able to roll with the punches and break revenue records.
Industries which were less agile and unable to serve customers in a digital-only context were not as lucky. Likewise states elsewhere in the US that do offer legal sports betting and casino services, but have yet to legitimize online gambling in law, were caught short by COVID-19, and lessons will be learned as a result of the example set by New Jersey.
Trends and Upward Trajectory
A number of other interesting stats were revealed as part of the official figures on NJ sports betting revenues published in the year’s round-up.
In terms of the most widely wagered-on sport, football took the top spot, with both professional NFL games and college events managing to collectively generate $1.4 billion in bets during 2020. Second place went to basketball, which netted $1.1 billion.
The strong performance of New Jersey’s sports betting sector is reflective of the wider successes being enjoyed by the gambling industry across the US. Nineteen states have now legalized some form of sports betting, and analysts predict that within the next five years the market will be worth over $10 billion.
This creates intriguing opportunities for start-ups and individuals that are eager to get into the industry, as well as for customers who are interested in taking advantage of legal sports betting services, which for many years were little more than a pipe dream.