Online gambling in New Jersey was a lifeline to a struggling casino industry in 2020 and operators parlayed that exposure to a record-setting 2021.
According to data from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement, online gambling in New Jersey generated over $1.33 billion last year. Mobile sports betting added another $943 million in 2021.
Both are all-time annual records in the United States.
Multiple online operators are now reporting $30-million months, something that was unimaginable just a few years ago.
So, what’s next for online gambling in New Jersey?
Here are five storylines to watch in 2022.
1. Will the $100-million-month streak continue in 2022?
When online gambling in New Jersey went over the $100 million revenue mark in January, it was the first time any U.S. state had done so.
Perhaps some thought it would be a one-time occurrence after February’s returns failed to exceed the centennial milestone. The shortest month of the year was the only time in 2021 revenue from online gambling in New Jersey was less than $100 million.
So, is $100 million the new benchmark for measuring online gambling revenue in the Garden State? Until something changes, it seems that may be the case.
2. Which online license holder will be the first to $40 million? $50 million?
Entering 2021, no online entity in NJ had reported monthly revenue of $30 million. By the end of the year, three were routinely generating at least that much.
Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Resorts Digital Gaming and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa all closed out the year above the $30 million mark in monthly revenue.
Borgata’s combined licensed online gaming skins (led by BetMGM and Borgata) reported a monthly high of $37.9 million in October 2021.
GNOG, which includes Golden Nugget online casino, SugarHouse, FanDuel and Betway, was over $30 million nine months last year. As a side note, back in November, the license holder became the first to achieve over $1 billion in all-time online casino revenue.
A $40 million month will probably happen in early 2022. How soon before a $50 million month is reported might be a better question.
3. What will be the effect of New York online sports betting on online gambling in New Jersey?
At first glance, this might seem like an odd question.
But gambling experts and analysts agree that NJ’s launch of online sports betting in the summer of 2018 has contributed heavily to iGaming’s rise.
In 2021, the data was clear as day. As online sports betting activity increased, so did online casino gambling.
What’s that have to do with New York?
Well, New Yorkers have been crossing state lines for years to gamble on sports. There’s little doubt some of those Empire State residents were also using affiliated online casino apps as well.
That money is staying across the river now. Even without online casinos in New York, it’s very unlikely people will come into Jersey to play internet slots or live dealer games.
4. Will new operators in New Jersey be able to carve out enough of the market to be relevant?
For those who pay attention to Atlantic City casinos, this question might sound a bit familiar. “How many is too many?” has been a common inquiry about the “best” number of AC casinos for years. The number of news articles and radio show monologues about the topic outnumber AC casinos hundreds of times over.
But it’s a fair question to start asking about the number of online operators in NJ. And yes, that means sportsbooks and casino apps.
Currently, there are 38 licensed online casino and poker sites in NJ. At least a dozen are recognizable from endless television commercials.
The others? Probably less so.
At some point, a number of operators are going to make business decisions about their long-term prospects in a very crowded market.
Mergers and acquisitions may not happen before a few more brands enter the market. But they’re coming.
5. How will esports impact online gambling in New Jersey?
Last year, New Jersey fully committed to offering esports gambling.
Prior to November 2021, state gaming regulators had been approving esports bets on a case-by-case basis. But now, esports gambling is permanent as an online betting option in NJ.
This includes Esports Entertainment Group getting DGE clearance to begin its soft launch/testing phase.
There are already esports competitions scheduled in 2022 where legal online gambling will be permitted. And promoted.
Esports appeal to a younger demographic with less disposable income than core casino gamblers or sports bettors.
While not nearly as large as sports betting or online casino, esports is a billion-dollar industry.
It will be interesting to watch this market segment as it grows in New Jersey.
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