A rough Super Bowl for sportsbooks contributed to a disappointing month for New Jersey sports betting revenues. It was a very different story for the state’s gaming revenue overall.
Close to $5 million in combined losses for New Jersey on Super Sunday contributed to a diminished sports betting hold total in the February 2019 revenue report released by the Division of Gaming Enforcement. New Jersey sportsbooks combined for $12.7 million in revenue last month, down from $18.8 million the month before.
Overall, New Jersey took in around $320 million in total bets in February, down from the record-setting total of $385 million set a month prior.
This can be attributed in large part due to the conclusion of the football season.
Football was the most bet-upon sport in New Jersey last year, with dozens of college and professional regular season games generating millions of dollars in bets each weekend in the fall.
February had only one.
Still, the first-ever February with legal sports betting generated a strong month for New Jersey’s gaming industry overall. The Garden State’s total gaming revenue in February 2019 was $241.2 million, a 25.6 percent increase over that same time period a year earlier.
And sports betting numbers shouldn’t be down long. March brings the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, which for decades has featured some of the largest betting totals of any event at legal sports books in Nevada.
Gaming purveyors were able to take wagers on the Big Game for the first time ever this year following the Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal ban was announced in May 2018. But by covering the -2.5 spread in Super Bowl LIII, the New England Patriots pummeled New Jersey sportsbooks.
New Jersey sportsbooks paid out $39.5 million off nearly $35 million in bets on that game alone. FanDuel alone reported $5 million in losses largely due to lopsided action on the Patriots and a series of additional promotions.
Just a few hours south of Boston on I-95, New Jersey saw a more significant portion of the action on the Patriots then other states taking bets.
In Nevada, the New England win actually sparked a solid Super Sunday. Silver State sportsbooks reported $10.7 million hold on around $150 million in wagers.
Compared to New Jersey, enjoying the thrill of its first-ever legal Super Bowl bets, Nevada bettors were not nearly as enthused. Bettors were less excited to wager on another game featuring New England, with this year’s matchup against the Los Angeles Rams drawing fewer bets than the Patriots clash with the Philadelphia Eagles a year prior.
Though the scope of the event paled in comparison to the NFL championship, the biggest day for the American film industry also saw its first ever legal wagers cast in New Jersey.
The 2018 Academy Awards garnered nearly $750,000 in bets. A small fraction of the state’s overall betting totals, Oscars wagering was nevertheless an interesting new wrinkle for the New Jersey betting market.
It was also a winning move for bookmakers. Bet takers paid out $565,000 on Oscars bets, leading to a strong hold of 24.4 percent.
The unusual nature of award winner betting didn’t go off without a hitch. New Jersey books took down the bets several times over integrity concerns. Additionally a rumor circulating around a nominee for Best Director saw odds shift dramatically in the days leading up to the event, raising further questions.
In the end, bets were taken leading up to the ceremony itself. Though lined with heavy favorites in most major categories, a few upsets shaped out an unpredictable evening for bettors and bookies.
Green Book, which closed at odds around +300, stunned presumptive favorite Roma to take home the Best Picture award. Earlier in the evening, Olivia Coleman pulled off another shocker at odds around +350 to top favorite Glenn Close.
Meanwhile Yorgos Lanthimos, the subject of the viral rumor around the Best Director award, lost to Spike Lee.
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