Sportsbooks make big May gains, while online casinos show more strength


New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks celebrated the third anniversary of sports betting in the state with a surge in wagers to $800 million in May, a typically slow month in the sports betting industry. Meanwhile, online casino and poker rooms crossed $3 billion in lifetime revenue following another near-record month and the Garden State’s brick-and-mortar casinos and sportsbooks continue to rebound, a welcome sign after such a trying year, according to PlayNJ, which tracks the state’s regulated online gaming and sports betting market.

“Sportsbooks have been able to capitalize on the NBA playoffs to shallow the typical summer slowdown, online casinos continue to generate huge revenue, and Atlantic City is getting busier,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for “New Jersey’s gaming industry appears healthier than anyone would have thought possible a year ago.”

Bettors placed $814.3 million in wagers at New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks in May, according to official data released Wednesday. That is up 591.1% from $117.8 million in bets taken in May 2020 and more surprisingly, up 8.9% from $748 million in April.

May’s bets produced $52.9 million in revenue, up 433.6% from $9.9 million in May 2020, though down 3.5% from $54.8 million in April. The month’s win yielded $7.9 million in taxes.

After the state successfully challenged the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in the U.S. Supreme Court, New Jersey’s sports betting industry officially launched on June 14, 2018, with the opening of the retail sportsbooks at Monmouth Park and Borgata launched retail sportsbooks. In the three years since, New Jersey has surpassed Nevada as the nation’s largest market, generating:

  • $16.0 billion in bets.
  • $1.1 billion in gross revenue.
  • $159.4 million in taxes.

From June 2018 through April 2021, Nevada took in $14.5 million in bets and $909.3 million in operator revenue.

“New Jersey’s sports betting market has not only grown into the largest in the U.S., but it has evolved into the state that is least affected by the seasonality of sports betting,” said Eric Ramsey, analyst for “No market can entirely escape the natural ebbs and flows, of course. But New Jersey is less reliant on football and sports betting holidays than any other major U.S. market.”

Online betting accounted for 90.2%, or $736.7 million, of the state’s total handle in May. Meanwhile, with capacity limits loosened at Atlantic City casinos, retail sportsbooks took in $79.6 million wagers in May. Retail sportsbooks were shuttered in May 2020, but May 2021 was up 43.7% from $55.4 million in May 2019.

The biggest draw was the NBA, which piqued bettors’ interest with playoff appearances by the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Philadelphia 76ers. In all, basketball betting produced $216.7 million in bets, up from the $176.2 million in April. Baseball was No. 2, attracting $186.1 million in wagering.

“Success from regional teams almost always gives a market a boost, and basketball is particularly popular with New Jersey bettors,” Gouker said. “Even more, after a year of strict capacity limits and with so many regional favorites in the NBA Playoffs, bettors seemed particularly motivated to get out and place a bet. All of it is great news for a gaming market on the mend.”

FanDuel Sportsbook/PointsBet topped online operators again with $29.8 million in gross revenue, up from $25.5 million in April.

FanDuel was followed in revenue by:

  • Resorts Digital/DraftKings/Fox Bet ($9.5 million, down from $12 million in April)
  • BetMGM/Borgata ($4.7 million, down from $5.2 million)
  • Monmouth/William Hill/SugarHouse/TheScore ($1.8 million, even with April)
  • Ocean Casino/William Hill ($1.3 million, down from $1.8 million)
  • Caesars Sportsbook/888sport ($518,217, up from -$183,283)
  • Hard Rock/Bet365/Unibet ($508,488, down from $1.3 million)
  • Tropicana/William Hill ($48,000, down from $52,922)
  • Golden Nugget/BetAmerica (-$87,211, down from $202,545)

Meadowlands/FanDuel led all retail books with $4.8 million in revenue in May.

Online casinos and poker

Online casinos and poker rooms enjoyed its third consecutive month with more than $100 million in revenue with $108.2 million in May, up 0.4% from $107.7 million in April. Year-over-year, online casino and poker revenue — which started a yearlong surge in March 2020, is up 25.9% from $85.9 million in May 2020.

Online casinos and poker rooms have generated $3.0 billion in revenue since launching in November 2013.

Borgata, which includes the BetMGM brand, continued to hold its newfound ground in May with $32.8 million in casino and poker revenue. That is up 96.4% from $16.7 million in May 2020. Golden Nugget was just behind with $31.1 million in revenue, up from $29.1 million in April 2020. Resorts Digital, which includes the Fox Bet and DraftKings brands, was third with $21.6 million.

“Even as Atlantic City lifts pandemic-related limits and retail revenue slowly returns, online casinos continue to hold onto the gains made over the last year,” Ramsey said. “Online revenue has clearly been resilient, but hopefully the retail market can sustain this return to pre-pandemic levels.”

Other highlights from May’s report:

  • Online casinos and poker rooms generated $18.9 million in state and local taxes.
  • Online casinos and poker generated $3.5 million per day in the 31 days of May, down from $3.6 million per day in April.
  • Online casinos accounted for $105.8 million of May revenue, up 29.9% from $81.4 million in May 2020.
  • Online poker generated $2.4 million, down 46.7% from $4.5 million in May 2020.