New York Gambling Profits Continue To Fall

Lack of Non-Super Bowl Football Hurt Sportsbooks

Thanks to BetMGM’s big loss on Super Bowl LVIII and the end of the NFL season, the decline in New York gambling revenue continued in February 2024.

Sportsbooks collected $1.77 billion in handle last month, the lowest figure since September 2023 — not coincidentally, that was the start of the football season which didn’t kick off until September 7th. Gross revenues were $131 million, a nearly $80 million drop-off from January 2023 and the lowest profit total since August 2023.

It was obvious before but this is further proof that football really is the engine for sports betting. Sportsbooks will get a nice bump this month and in the beginning of April because of March Madness but, over the spring and summer they’ll have to rely on the NHL, NBA playoffs, and the MLB regular season to get by.

This summer’s Paris Olympics could help too. Still, expect more stories like this one to continue because bettors just aren’t too enthused by non-football online betting games.

A big question for sportsbooks — and maybe state organizations like the New York Gaming Commissions who love the revenue sportsbooks bring in — is how to expand their appeal to bettors outside of the football season.

Whether that’s more boosts and bonuses or increased advertising to make customers aware of all of the non-football sports that can be bet on, sportsbooks have to do a better job of diversifying what types of wagers are made because the NFL season is only so long.

New York Market Is Just Fine

As noted above, this decline in New York gambling revenue is nothing to be concerned about in the long-term as it’s just a predicted cyclical drop based on the sports calendar. The market is still growing, evidenced by the over 21% year-over-year rise in betting handle collected in the state from February 2023.

Year-over-year revenues rose by over 18% as well, showing how New York sportsbooks — and the state via tax revenues — are thriving even more than they were just 12 months ago.

State tax revenues fell by about $40 million as a result of the revenue drop but, at $67 million for February 2024, it’s still a nice chunk of change for the government to keep. The $100+ million profit totals during football season are nice but those — at least right now — are not sustainable after the Super Bowl concludes.

Interestingly, it seems like customers’ expert picks had a solid month because the sportsbook operators’ 7.4% hold rate — which measures how much of the overall handle that operators were able to turn into profit — which was the lowest since November 2023.

Still, it was similar to hold rate from February 2023. Hold rate is an interesting metric to look at because it is less season-dependent than other measures of profitability; it merely depicts how effective bettors were at beating the sportsbooks. At the end of the day, though, 7.4% of $1.77 billion is going to be a huge sum.

March Should Bounce Back

Due to a solid end of February and start of March, it looks like the sportsbooks may be able to reverse the decline in New York gambling revenue from February 2024.

In the week ending on March 3rd — the most recent data available — handle was over $456 million and revenue was over $40 million. Both figures are improvements over the past couple of weeks with handle being the highest since the week ending February 11th (which includes Super Bowl LVIII) and revenue being the highest since the week ending February 4th.

Those are promising numbers which could indicate that March 2024 will be a nice month for the sportsbooks and for the state at large. That week doesn’t even include most college basketball conference tournaments which are in full swing and can be a big betting opportunities for people as there are games on pretty much all day.

The best online sports betting sites push the conference tournaments heavily as a precursor to the crazy rush of the first few days of March Madness.

With a busy — albeit non-football — sports schedule for the rest of the month, March is an underrated month for sports bettors. Plus, people who have desperately been waiting for MLB to return with meaningful games get their wish a bit early this year as the Dodgers and Padres open up the regular season in South Korea on Wednesday.

The rest of the league begins play the following week but even just having a few games that matter can really kickstart the momentum toward baseball betting.

MLB games may not individually garner much interest but they are nearly constant for six months, allowing bettors to pretty much always have something to throw a few coins on. That’s great for the sportsbooks.

For Gambling news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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