The state Division of Gaming Enforcement released the first revenue report relating to the new industry on Thursday, and the Monmouth Park Sports Book by William Hill generated a total handle of $8,176,212 for 17 days last month, with sports betting launching on June 14.
According to the report, taxable gross revenue off sports wagering at Monmouth Park, which the state taxes at 8.5 percent, was $2,277,703, which equates to $193,605 in taxes. Not included in the report is the 1.25 percent that goes to county and municipal government.
The sports betting numbers do not reflect future bets on things like winning the Super Bowl or the World Cup, with those numbers not reported until after the event has been completed. For the state, including the Borgata and Ocean Resort casinos in Atlantic City, the total handle on future sports bets is $1,045,772.
Monmouth Park had a winning percentage on sports wagering of 11.8 percent, which equates to revenue of $967,403. The average for the state was 7.8 percent on a total handle of $15,363,847. The average winning percent on sports betting in Las Vegas is 5.6 percent.
"We are extremely pleased with our numbers," said Dennis Drazin, president and CEO of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park. "We think they show there is a huge appetite for sports betting. To be generating these numbers early, and it’s not even football season yet, speaks enormously of the potential for when football season comes around. So we’re thrilled by the early numbers."
The true impact of sports betting will not be known until football season, with the National Football League and college football serving as the industry's driving force. Last year, football accounted for 36 percent of the total sports betting market in Las Vegas in 2017, according to the UNLV Center for Gaming Research.
There is also a feeling that the overall numbers will grow as the market for sports betting in New Jersey matures, with online sports betting set to begin this month for the state's racetracks and casinos.
"While it's still early, we're obviously off to a great start," said Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US. "We always knew there was a big appetite for legal sports betting during the years of litigation, and now it is being proven. We are proud to be creating new jobs in New Jersey and bringing excitement to our customers. We can't wait until football season."
Sport betting gets underway the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford when the FanDuel Sportsbook at Victory Sports Bar & Club opens to the public at 11 a.m. Saturday.
So what does all of this mean in terms of actual profits for Monmouth Park?
It's difficult to say at this point, with Monmouth Park splitting revenues, after expense, with William Hill. But if, for example, the track is making $600,000-a-month in profits initially when it's not football season, that number could be four times higher, or more, during the five months the NFL is playing.
That could bring the track's initialy take to around $17 million annually, or the amount of the track's portion of the racing industry's subsidy from Atlantic City casinos that disappeared when former Gov. Chris Christie privatized the state’s race tracks in 2011.
To put the first 17 days of sports betting in perspective, it equates to an average daily sports betting handle of $480,953 at Monmouth Park, with the sports book open seven days a week. By comparison, for 21 racing days at the track since the meet began on May 5, the average daily on-track handle for horse racing has been $356,354.
There is an indication that those placing bets on sporting events are plunking down dollars on horse racing as well. On nine weekend/holiday racing dates between June 14 and July 12, Monmouth Park's on-track handle averaged $399,589, up 3.4 percent over the same dates a year ago. This year, Monmouth Park did not race on race on Fridays, a traditionally slow day, during that period.
Delaware, which had a form of sports wagering before it began accepting single-game bets on June 5, reported $7 million wagered for 20 days through June 24 at the state’s three racetracks, including Delaware Park and harness tracks Dover Downs and Harrington Raceway. It reported total revenues from sports wagering of $1,000,247, with Delaware Park’s share of that, after the state and its sports book operator took their share, was $263,924.
"Unlike us, I consider Delaware to have been a fully integrated system that's been up and running for years even though it has just been parlays," Drazin said. "So they are already set up and have a smooth operation. And Delaware is reporting the entire state in their numbers."