ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Gamblers wagered a record-breaking $445 million on sports in New Jersey in September, the largest monthly total in the state since legal sports betting began in June 2018.
Tuesday's release of figures came as the rapidly growing New Jersey sports betting market challenges Nevada for nationwide leadership of the industry.
The two states have toggled back and forth in recent months in terms of who takes in more sports bets, but Nevada still has the highest monthly totals, including nearly $600 million in March, the largest monthly amount in U.S. history.
The state Division of Gaming Enforcement reported the New Jersey casinos and racetracks made nearly $38 million on their September bets after winning wagers and expenses were paid. The total was boosted by the return of NFL and college football, which always generate heavy betting action.
The extra money came in a month where Atlantic City's casinos saw revenue from their core business of on-premises table games and slots decline by 3.2%, to $224.5 million.
But the sports betting revenue, along with another record-setting month for internet gambling, helped the casinos to an overall revenue increase of 4.1%, at $283.2 million.
Online bets generated $41.1 million in revenue for the casinos in September, an increase of nearly 60% over Sept. 2018.
When sports betting money from the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park is included, the state's gambling industry won over $303 million.
Overall, the news was mixed for Atlantic City's nine casinos in September; while they collectively posted a 4.1% increase, six of them saw their individual monthly gambling revenue decline.
Caesars was down 15.7% to $19.3 million; Tropicana was down 12.9% to $28.9 million; Bally's was down 10.8% to $15.3 million; Resorts was down 5.3% to $15 million; Harrah's was down 2.7% to $26.6 million, and the Borgata was down 2.5% to $65.8 million.
The Ocean Casino resort was up 46.9% to $24.2 million; Hard Rock was up 20% to $31.8 million, and the Golden Nugget was up 12.7% to $32.3 million.
"While operators continue to face strong competition for gaming and leisure customers, the increase in total gaming revenue shows the industry has grown for the betterment of both Atlantic City and New Jersey as a whole," said James Plousis, chairman of the New jersey Casino Control Commission.
Ocean, the former Revel casino, had its second-best month in the property's history, with gambling revenue up 38%, said Michael Donovan, Ocean's senior vice president and chief marketing officer. He said the casino will report third-quarter property records for both revenues and profits when those figures are released later this year.
Rummy Pandit, director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, just outside Atlantic City, said the city's revenues "continue to show strength, resilience and growth."
Over the first nine months of this year, sports betting has generated $190.6 million in revenue for the casinos and tracks, compared with just over $40 million in the same period last year, when sports betting was still in its infancy in New Jersey.
It has generated just over $23 million in state taxes for the first nine months of the year.
Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC