By WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey gamblers plunked down more than $3 billion on sports in the first full year that it became legal, helping the state challenge Nevada for the nationwide lead in the fast-growing industry.
Figures released Friday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the state's casinos and racetracks handled $273 million worth of bets in June.
Since the state's first bets were taken on June 14, 2018, New Jersey has seen $3.2 billion wagered.
In May, New Jersey edged ahead of Nevada in the amount of monthly sports bets placed, with $318.9 million wagered, about $1.5 million more than Nevada, whose June statistics will be released later this month.
Including casino gambling money, New Jersey's casinos and two horse tracks that offer sports betting collectively won nearly $284 million in June, up 21.5% from a year ago.
"I am frankly shocked at how well we have done," said Jeff Gural, operator of the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, just outside New York City. The track has earned nearly $58 million in sports betting revenue after winning bets have been paid out — more than the entire Atlantic City casino industry combined.
"I expect that in this calendar year we will do $500 million (in betting volume), which makes us the biggest in the world. We totally dominate New Jersey, and as long as New York decides to force their residents to either bet illegally or drive to New Jersey, now that we have self-bet terminals available for the football season and American Dream opening next door, I would expect to see our revenues continue to grow," Gural said, referring to a massive entertainment and retail complex.
Despite the head-turning numbers, though, sports betting has not been a gusher for state treasuries. Taxes are assessed only on the operators' revenue after paying off winning bets and other expenses, and not on the total amount of bets that are made.
So far this year in New Jersey, casinos and tracks have earned $109 million, and paid $13.3 million in state taxes. Since sports betting started a year ago, New Jersey has reaped $23.8 million in taxes on it, according to James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
The extra revenue from sports bets helped the casinos to a good June, winning over $278 million, an increase of over 20% from last June.
(The Hard Rock and Ocean casinos both opened on June 27, 2018; July's revenue figures will be the first apples-to-apples comparison of how the current market is faring compared to a year earlier.)
The Borgata had its best June ever for table games, winning $22.3 million, which is more than three other casinos won at table games and slots combined. All told, the Borgata took in nearly $71 million in June, an increase of 7.7% from a year earlier.
Hard Rock was second at $32.5 million, Golden Nugget was third at $29.54 million, up 2.2%, and Tropicana was right behind it at $29.51 million, a decline of nearly 14% from a year ago.
Harrah's won $24.5 million, down 17.3%, Caesars won $23.2 million, down 5.8%, and the Ocean Casino Resort won $21.4 million.
Bally's won $16.1 million, down nearly 8%, and Resorts won $15.5 million, down 5.1%.
Internet gambling revenue soared in June to over $38 million, an increase of nearly 68% from a year earlier, led by the Golden Nugget, which at nearly $13.6 million won more than twice as much online as its nearest competitor.