Featured in this article:
  • Five NJ casinos not yet back to pre-pandemic levels for in-person gambling
  • Increase in online gaming revenues
  • New Yorkers less likely to wager online in New Jersey this year

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NJ casino revenues for in-person gambling is down, but online betting and gaming could help cover the losses soon

New Jersey’s casinos have continued their bounce back against coronavirus – but not in the way most people thought they would.

Data released this week shows revenues from in-person and online partners of both casinos and horse tracks increased 6.7% year-on-year in July.

Said establishments won $480.7m from bettors and casino players during July – a lucrative taking in the height of the summer holidays season.

But drill down into the data and it reveals something quite remarkable: five casinos are making less money from in-person gambling than they did before the coronavirus pandemic.

NJ Casinos Financial Data

Figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement show casinos won close to $299m from in-person gambling activity, reports AP. Collectively, that is an increase from $277m back in July 2019, before anyone had even heard of COVID.

Yet five of New Jersey’s casinos – Harrah’s, the Tropicana, Bally’s, Borgata and Golden Nugget – were down over this period for in-person gambling.

Tropicana casino NJ

The Tropicana casino in New Jersey saw year-on-year revenues down 2.5% in July

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, told AP the results nonetheless “showed indications of a strong summer season fueled by a return to normal operations and consumer behavior”.

She added: “Unlike last summer, Atlantic City casinos in 2022 are operating without official public health restrictions, which were still in place at the start of summer 2021.

“There also isn’t the COVID-19 drag of persisting public health concerns that kept some visitors from returning to pre-pandemic behaviors even after an end to the COVID-19 public health emergency in New Jersey.”

Yet what is also pertinent about these latest financial results is the growing importance of online and mobile gambling revenues for NJ casinos and racetracks. The results show around $180m was earned through remote wagering in July 2022 – although a proportion of this goes to third-party providers such as tech platforms.

Still, it’s an impressive slice of the overall pie, and reflects growing trends within the industry that is seeing fewer people bet at racetracks and in-person sportsbooks, and instead bet online.

Each casino’s July year-on-year postings for all gaming activity is as shown:

  • Borgata – $124m. Up 16.4%
  • Hard Rock – $59.8m. Up 8%
  • Golden Nugget – $49.1m. Flat
  • Ocean – $43.3m. Up 29.5%
  • Tropicana – $35.8m. Down 2.5%
  • Harrah’s – $26.3m. Down 10%
  • Caesars – $25.5m. Down 3.2%
  • Bally’s – $20.7m. Up 28.4%
  • Resorts – $18.3m. Down 3%

New York Looming

One big problem for NJ casinos to tackle over the coming months is how New York’s previously loyal customers are affected by the legalization of online gambling in the state. The upcoming NFL season is expected to provide an acid test to how New Jersey’s online gaming operators will fare into 2023.

Last year NJ benefitted from NY’s state ban, which meant players crossed over the Hudson to place their wagers.

It was such a successful situation that NJ broke its sports betting record in October 2021. Now that’s lifted, sports bets in New Jersey could well suffer as a result.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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