The January 2021 New Jersey sports betting numbers are in, and there was a slight decrease for the first time in months. Total sports betting handle was $958.72 million in January, which was a decrease of nearly four percent.
New Jersey continues to be the largest sports betting market in the United States, with the state setting an industry record of $996.3 million in December. There was hope that NJ would go over the $1 billion mark in January 2021, but that will likely come in the next few months.
The year-over-year comparison did show a growth of more than 77 percent from 2020, as there was just $540 million in sports betting handle in January 2020. New Jersey has continued to launch new operators since January 2020, and there will be more set to open up in 2021.
The slight decrease in January could be attributed to several factors, but the lack of many NFL games was the biggest reason.
Increase in Revenue
Even though the total sports betting handle went down during January, revenue actually went up. Sportsbooks were able to take advantage of favorable NFL betting odds for the month, and bettors were struggling to make much profit.
Revenue rose to $82.6 million, which was an increase of nearly 25 percent. In December 2020, revenue was just $66.39 million, which was still the largest total in the United States.
A year-over-year comparison in revenue shows an even bigger jump for New Jersey sportsbooks. The January 2020 revenue was $53.5 million, and the state was able to see an increase of more than 54 percent.
Basketball Leads the Way
Football was the most popular sport to bet on for a long stretch in 2020, but a new sport took over in January. Basketball brought in a handle of more than $320 million in January, and football was next on the list at $201 million.
There was a week break in the football action at the end of January, which allowed basketball to become the most popular betting option. Parlays accounted for $220 million, and the “other” category brought in more than $214 million.
Basketball is expected to dominate the industry over the next few weeks, especially as the calendar turns to March.
In-Person Starting to Pick Up
If New Jersey is ever going to reach the $1 billion mark in total sports betting handle, in-person betting will have to pick back up. The state is starting to lift some of the COVID-19 restrictions, which should allow casinos to see more business.
The 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament will highlight the March sports betting opportunities, and Atlantic City is always a popular destination for this event. Retail casinos will ramp up their efforts to promote in-person sports betting in March, but online will continue to be the most popular betting option in New Jersey.
The entire live casino revenue was down nearly 17 percent during 2020, but the state hopes to reverse that trend in 2021.