New Jersey sets U.S. sport bet record for 3rd month at $803M

WAYNE PARRY
·3 min read
This Oct. 1, 2020, photo shows the exterior of the Borgata casino in Atlantic City, N.J. On Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, the Borgata laid off or reduced the hours of 422 workers in response to new restrictions on indoor dining imposed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)
This Oct. 1, 2020, photo shows the exterior of the Borgata casino in Atlantic City, N.J. On Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, the Borgata laid off or reduced the hours of 422 workers in response to new restrictions on indoor dining imposed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey's red-hot sports betting market set the national record for the highest amount wagered on sports for the third month in a row in October with over $803 million plunked down by gamblers.

Figures released Friday by the state Division of Gambling Enforcement show that Atlantic City's casinos and the three horse tracks that offer sports betting collectively took in $803,096,172.

That broke the state's previous monthly records of $667.9 million in August and $748.5 million in September.

The record before that for the total amount bet, or “handle,” was $614 million, set in Nevada in Nov. 2019.

Total gambling revenue at the casinos and tracks was up 15% in October to $338 million.

But as has been the case recently, most of those gains came from internet gambling and sports betting; revenue from in-person gambling at the nine casinos was down 8% to $186.1 million in October.

“Casino win was 92% of last October’s performance, even though the two years are not reasonably comparable," said James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. ”During this time, Atlantic City continues to show resilience in the face of necessary and ongoing restrictions on capacity, amenities, and entertainment."

The casinos are limited to 25% of capacity under state-imposed rules designed to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. And on Friday, the city's top casino, the Borgata, laid off 73 workers and cut the hours of another 349 in response to virus regulations that took effect Thursday night prohibiting indoor dining and drinking after 10 p.m.

The Ocean Casino Resort posted the biggest monthly gain, up 37% to $29.1 million compared to Oct. 2019 figures.

“Ocean just completed its 12th straight operational month of year-over-year gaming growth,” said CEO Terry Glebocki. “We are grateful to our guests for their loyalty even during these unprecedented times.”

Hard Rock was up 25.6% from a year ago to $35.4 million; Golden Nugget was up 21.2% to $38.6 million; Borgata was up 10.5% to $67.5 million; and Tropicana was up 3.5% to $27.2 million.

Harrah's posted the biggest decline compared to Oct. 2019, down 19.5% to $19.4 million. Bally's, which is being sold to a Rhode Island company that adopted the Bally's corporate name on Monday, was down 17.1% to $11.4 million; Caesars was down 12.5% to $19 million, and Resorts was down 7% to $11.5 million.

Internet gambling revenue more than doubled in October, to $93.4 million, as some gamblers continued to feel more comfortable betting online than in a casino during the pandemic.

The amount of money kept by the casinos and tracks after paying out winning bets and expenses was $58.5 million, up over 26% from a year ago. But that money is often split among sport book operators and other third party vendors, and is not pure profit for the casinos.

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