Wayne Parry / AP
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 | 7:30 p.m.
ATLANTIC CITY — Nearly $2 billion has been wagered on sporting events in New Jersey in the nine months since such betting became legal last year.
New Jersey gamblers plunked down more than $320 million on sporting events in February, led by action on the day of the Feb. 3 Super Bowl and the two days preceding it.
And regulators and gambling industry officials predict the college basketball championship tournament this month will surpass Super Bowl betting in terms of volume.
"FanDuel Sportsbook's first Super Bowl vastly exceeded our expectations and, despite the people's choice New England Patriots winning, (we) still saw record online revenues in the month," said the company, which operates at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, just outside New York City. "We're looking forward to the inaugural March Madness with legal sports betting in New Jersey."
Online and mobile sports betting revenue accounted for four times the amount of money wagers in person at casinos or racetracks.
The extra money helped Atlantic City's casinos to an increase of nearly 26 percent in gambling revenue in February compared to a year earlier. The casinos kept $12.7 million of bets on completed sporting events after winnings bets and other expenses were paid.
Atlantic City's nine casinos won $241 million in total from gamblers in February.
And nearly $750,000 was wagered on the Oscars, with the sports books keeping nearly a quarter of it.
"It's clear the new gaming options and other amenities are continuing to grow the Atlantic City market," said James Plousis, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission.
Resorts Casino posted the largest percentage increase in gambling revenue in February compared with a year ago, up 24.5 percent to $14.8 million. Caesars was up 10.7 percent to $19.4 million, and the Golden Nugget was up 5.8 percent to $26.5 million. The Golden Nugget, which has seen its revenue and market share increase in recent years, slipped to third place in the Atlantic City market in February, just behind the Tropicana and well behind perennial market leader Borgata.
Harrah's was down 14.8 percent to $24 million; Bally's was down 9.1 percent to $12.9 million; Borgata was down 7.5 percent to $54.3 million; and Tropicana was down 5.8 percent to $27.5 million.
Hard Rock ($22.8 million) and the Ocean Resort Casino ($14.9 million) had not yet opened at this time last year.
The Meadowlands Racetrack earned over $8 million in sports betting revenue in February, compared with $774,309 in revenue for Monmouth Park Racetrack.
February was when so-called "futures bets" involving the Super Bowl were settled, meaning money that was taken in by casinos or racetracks as far back as last June was finally accounted for in profit-or-loss statements in February. The payoff of such bets helped drive Borgata to a sports betting loss for the month of nearly $756,000, but the casino said it was pleased with the volume of sports bets its customers made.
Internet betting also continued its steady ascent in New Jersey, with nearly $32 million having been won by online casinos, an increase of more than 44 percent from a year ago.