The first month of legalized New Jersey sports betting has been exhilarating, and with the first revenue results out, many pundits are asking whether we are seeing an emerging pattern or whether June is simply the anomaly of an unfolding industry.
With Borgata and Monmouth Racetrack opening their sportsbooks on the same day, Monmouth Park has whipped Borgata with double the revenue for the same period. Could it be that the publicity generated by Monmouth’s launch with Governor Phil Murphy placing the first bet could have swayed so much favor in their direction? It’s difficult to tell.
This forthcoming month’s figures could tell a very different story with Ocean Resort Casino having come into the arena on 28th June; and a number of other Atlantic City casinos entering the fray. Meanwhile, Freehold Raceway is yet to announce whether it is going to participate in NJ sports betting.
Another speculation is that racetracks may continue to dominate sports betting in the state. The performance of Meadowlands with its six-mile proximity to New York being a case in point, with New York not having legislated around the matter of sports betting as yet. The FanDuel sportsbook at Meadowlands is predicted to be a top money spinner for this very reason.
In terms of pure numbers, we might well be looking at northern-based sportsbooks yielding far better profits than their competition in Atlantic City – even with glitzier and more diverse betting options.
The New Jersey horse racing scene has been in decline ever since Governor Chris Christie withdrew state funding for the tracks a few years ago. Obtaining quality horses became a major headache for track managers as income fell by over 50% due, in no small measure, to nearby competition which was still backed by state funding. In a vicious cycle, supporters became less willing to travel to New Jersey to bet since the quality of the horses were not as attractive.
Racetracks have indeed endured a very lean period, which almost saw Meadowlands go under in 2010 and whereas Casinos have had the benefit of online gambling income; racetracks have not had this second stream of income to cushion them when attendance numbers have been down.
Sports Betting might very well be the horse racetrack savior that owners have been praying for in recent years.