5 Reasons Why NJ Online Casinos Set Fourth Revenue Record For 2021, $1-Billion Year In Sight

Written By Bill Gelman on October 20, 2021 - Last Updated on April 10, 2024
September NJ online casino revenue

This may sound like a broken record, but the NJ online casino industry reported another all-time high for September 2021. The state Division of Gaming Enforcement released the latest figures earlier this week. The NJ online casino revenue portion of the totals came in at $122.6 million.

This marks the first time ever in the nearly eight-year history of the NJ Internet gambling industry that the monthly number has exceeded $120 million. Plus, it knocks July’s $118.7 million out of the No. 1 spot.

And for those keeping tabs, this makes it eight out of nine months in which NJ online casino revenue has crossed the $100-million marker. Here is the updated list of the top five all-time months, all from this year:

  • September: $122.6 million
  • July: $118.7 million
  • March: $113.7 million
  • August: $113.2 million
  • January: $103.8 million

The reality is there are several factors contributing to this new norm of $100-million months. Plus, the overall total was not the only record to fall in September. Here is a closer look at five reasons why NJ online casinos are continuing to set revenue records.

1. Sports betting handle broke $1 billion, so …

New Jersey has this reputation for setting the national trend when it comes to online records. This is especially the case when it comes to NJ sports betting. The biggest headline of the week is of course how the Garden State became the first U.S. legal sports wagering jurisdiction to report over $1 billion in monthly handle. Yes, that includes Nevada.

Out of the $1.011 billion in bets, $918.4 million came via mobile apps.

Keep in mind the majority of the 22 sports wagering platforms include slots and table games. This is where the shared wallet and cross-selling come into play. Some operators will offer customers weekly promos in which casino play may include a free sports bet.

Of course, many football bettors often play his or her casino game of choice while waiting for sports bets to pay out. And with NFL betting season just getting started, this trend will very likely continue all the way through Super Bowl Sunday.

2. GNOG crosses $1-billion mark in all-time revenue

Sticking with the broken record theme, there is one milestone many people probably didn’t even notice. If you look at the all-time revenue chart (see below) Golden Nugget Online Gaming’s (GNOG) all-time total has exceeded $1 billion. This dates back to the 2013 launch of the NJ online casino business. They are the first and only license holder to hit this mark so far.

It’s PlayNJ’s understanding that a large portion of this number comes via the Golden Nugget online casino app. NJ does not break down results by operators so it’s hard to say exactly how much. Today, it’s one of six brands operating under the license. SugarHouseStardust, and FanDuel are a few of the others. Betway Casino is the newest, launching in August.

For September, GNOG reported more than $31 million in revenue, which is up 19.5% from the same period last year. Year to date, GNOG has reported $276.3 million, which ranks No. 2 behind Borgata/BetMGM ($302.5 million).

LicenseeTotal RevenueSlots & TablesPokerTaxes
Bally's Atlantic City$169,444,255$169,444,255$0$25,419,635
Caesars Atlantic City$682,556,436$574,188,410$108,466,060$102,115,348
Golden Nugget Atlantic City$2,364,691,991$2,364,112,861$124$353,206,075
Hard Rock Atlantic City$355,387,467$355,387,467$0$53,216,283
Harrah's Atlantic City$5,240,890$5,240,890$0$786,134
Resorts Atlantic City$1,870,479,678$1,791,447,455$77,478,759$279,394,559
Tropicana Atlantic City$626,099,634$624,959,166$1,140,468$93,890,221
Trump Taj Mahal$6,032,943$5,470,434$562,509$916,330

3. Another NJ online casino record performance for BetMGM, Borgata

So if somebody asked back in January if any NJ online casino license holder would report over $40 million in one month, what would you have said? Well, it still hasn’t happened, but the scenario is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality.

The “closer” refers to how Borgata, led by BetMGM and Borgata online casinos, continues to get within striking distance ($38.2 million) of the number. Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago when a $40-million month for the entire market was considered a very big deal. Amazing how quickly these trends can change.

The MGM-owned Borgata has been the dominant player when it comes to Atlantic City revenue. And this year, they have been pulling away from the online pack. The percentage increase of 123.2% (up from $135.5 million year-to-date) tells the story. Borgata is the only license holder to see a triple-digit year-over-year increase. Ocean Casino Resort is the next closest at 48%, but they have only earned $11.2 million for 2021.

As far as September goes, here is a look at how Borgata/BetMGM stack versus the other seven license holders:

LicenseeTotal RevenueSlots & TablesPokerTaxes
Bally's Atlantic City$336,979$336,979$ -$50,547
Caesars Atlantic City$10,179,606$9,374,719$804,887$1,505,111
Golden Nugget Atlantic City$31,069,899$31,069,899$ -$4,655,766
Hard Rock Atlantic City$5,809,634$5,809,634$ -$871,445
Ocean$1,382,171$1,382,171$ -$207,804
Resorts Atlantic City$28,386,004$27,720,196$665,808$4,234,620
Tropicana Atlantic City$7,206,206$7,206,206$ -$1,080,931

4. Is Resorts benefiting from Barstool Casino?

No matter what the month is, the top three have pretty much remained the same with an occasional order swap. Resorts Digital, the online arm of Resorts Atlantic City, is No. 3. The portfolio includes the DraftKings Casino and PokerStars brands along with the company-branded app.

They reported $28.4 million for September, which is nearly a 42% jump from September 2020. Plus, it’s a new monthly high for them, shattering the previous mark of $23.3 million set in July.

The result could be attributed to one of the market’s newest additions, Barstool Casino. Besides it being the fifth and final skin under the Resorts license, Barstool has a national following, especially on social media.  Another clue that the product is quickly establishing an NJ customer base comes from the Freehold Raceway sports betting numbers. Barstool Sportsbook operates under the license (online casinos are not permitted to operate under an NJ racetrack license).

Freehold reported $4.3 million in September revenue. It was the first full month for Barstool NJ. And if we compare this result to August, when Freehold reported $885,094, the evidence is clearly in the numbers.  And this is yet another example of how the cross-selling model is working.

Expect the Barstool growth to continue as Penn National recently debuted a Barstool-branded NJ live dealer studio.

5. $1-Billion Year for NJ online casino biz is coming

Of course, all of this sets the foundation for the biggest record yet. When October numbers are released next month, a number exceeding $1 billion will appear under the year-to-date online casino revenue total. NJ has already hit $988.7 million for 2021.

And it’s pretty much a guarantee that the Garden State has already unofficially hit the mark. Think about it, we are talking about less than $12 million for an industry that passes $100 million month after month after month.

Next month will also mark the eighth anniversary of the NJ online casino launch. Talk about perfect timing.

The current number is already a biggie. This time last year, the revenue total was up to $685.6 million. That’s a 44.2% year-over-year difference.

The grand total for last year came in at $970.3 million. So yet another example of New Jersey being in new record territory.

Will the NJ online casino biz ever slow down? It certainly isn’t going to be anytime in the near future.

Dreamstime Stock Photo 

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman has been reporting on the NJ gambling market since 2018, right around when the Garden State launched sports betting. Bill transitioned from lead writer for PlayNJ and NJ Gambling Sites to his current role as managing editor in 2020. Besides offering in-depth analysis on NJ gambling market trends and news, Bill regularly sits down with Atlantic City casino industry executives to offer readers exclusive interviews and comprehensive coverage. Bill received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College. He has contributed to other Catena Media sites including The Lines, Legal Sports Report, PlayPennsylvania and PlayCanada.

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