I like to (legally) bet on sports, and apparently, I’m not alone. In December, New Jersey just missed taking in $1 billion in sports wagers, with a grand total of $996.3 million being gambled.

According to PlayNJ.com, that marked the fifth straight month that a record was set. That was good news for Atlantic City’s casinos, which have suffered under the in-person restrictions put in place because of the pandemic. The brick and mortar casinos were shut down for over three months and even when allowed to open had to operate with capacity restrictions.

"A unique set of circumstances, most notably a once-a-century pandemic, sent online sports betting to these previously unfathomable highs," said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com. "The pandemic has had a diametrically opposite effect on New Jersey's online and retail markets for both sports betting and casino games. But the growth of online betting was crucial in making up for at least some of the losses in revenue at Atlantic City casinos and certainly continue to steady the entire gaming industry."

The amount of money people were willing to gamble on sports is mind-boggling; for the entire year of 2020, New Jersey sports gambling generated:
• $6.02 billion in bets.
• $5.5 billion in online wagering.
• $398.5 million in operator revenue.
• $65.1 million in state and local taxes.

Online betting accounted for over 93% of the money wagered on sports in New Jersey, with FanDuel/Pointsbet being the top online operator. According to the Press of Atlantic City, overall casino revenue was down 17% for the year.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

Travel back in time to a colorized Atlantic City circa 1919