Online Gambling in NJ Providing Boost to Atlantic City Casino Industry

When the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) releases its monthly revenue reports for the state’s land-based and online casino industries, the news seldom makes mainstream headlines.

But the most recent March revenue reports, released by the NJDGE on April 12, did just that – after the state recorded a record-breaking performance.

With $21.7 million in gross gaming revenue from five licensed iGaming operators, New Jersey eclipsed the $20-million plateau for the first time, shattering its previous record of $18.8 million (January of 2017) in the process.

It wasn’t the state’s collection of online casinos and poker rooms garnering Associated Press coverage though, but the former crown jewel of New Jersey’s brick and mortar casino industry.

As noted by the AP, the NJDGE also released figures for the seven land-based casinos currently operating in Atlantic City, showing $221.8 million in gaming win during March. That marks a jump of 9.3 percent when compared to March of last year.

Atlantic City’s performance in March was made even better when the defunct Trump Taj Mahal is removed from the calculations. Without recently shuttered Taj’s revenue gap weakening the industry’s overall year-on-year comparison, Atlantic City casinos experienced a revenue increase of nearly 17 percent.

The improvement is striking for the East Coast’s former gambling mecca of Atlantic City. The seaside destination was once home to a thriving gambling industry, but has struggled during the last decade amidst casino closures and contraction, as well as competition from regional neighbors like New York and Massachusetts where casino gambling has been recently approved.

Speaking with the AP, New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman Matt Levinson spoke optimistically about the state’s brick and mortar casino revival:

“Every month should be as good as March was. When coupled with the very strong earnings report that came out last week, it’s clear that casinos have started to grow the market and increase their profits.

That is generating a lot of positive interest in Atlantic City and has already attracted significant new investment in this market.”

As noted by David Rebuck, who serves as director of the NJDGE, the March revenue reports outline a clear link between the iGaming industry’s rapid rise since approval in 2013:

“(The numbers) provide further proof of the industry’s stability during the past 18 months.

For the first three months of 2017, internet gaming revenue is up 32 percent compared to last year, and the (online) industry is on pace for another record year.”

Under New Jersey law, land-based casinos in the state can apply for interactive gaming licenses, while partnering with established software providers and operators to run affiliated online casino venues.

Atlantic City’s largest casino resort, the Borgata, partnered with PartyPoker parent company bWin.Party, and currently runs its own Borgata online platform, along with a PartyPoker-branded alternative. Caesars Interactive aligned its Harrah’s AC property with 888 Holdings and the World Series of Poker, running four iGaming venues at this time.

The city’s other three iGaming license holders are Golden Nugget, Resorts AC, and the Tropicana.

The Golden Nugget’s collection of iGaming properties (Golden Nugget, Betfair, and PlaySugar House) recorded 101 percent year-on-year revenue growth during March – all without an online poker component.

Not to be outdone, the Resorts AC licensing umbrella (Resorts, Mohegan Sun, and PokerStars NJ) tallied 123 percent year-on-year growth – and 157 percent within its casino offerings alone.

Through cross-branding efforts and other promotional events – including live poker tournaments played out at the casino after online qualifying, free table game vouchers, and other rewards – New Jersey’s land-based casinos are successfully bringing online players into the fold.