In an online casino industry dominated by brick-and-mortar-branded iGaming sites, one unlikely player has emerged to capture a significant share of the spotlight.
That player: Betfair online casino.
As per a recent analyst presentation, Betfair currently controls 16% of the New Jersey online casino market — quite an impressive feat considering there are approximately a dozen active sites vying for the gambling dollars of the Garden State’s faithful.
No shortage of hurdles
To say that Betfair overcame its fair share of challenges on the path to relevancy would be putting it mildly:
- Betfair’s New Jersey poker room was an unmitigated disaster, generating a laughable $124 in revenue before shutting down on December 1, 2014.
- Borgata and Caesars quickly emerged as the two dominant forces in New Jersey, combining to account for over 57% of the online casino market in the industry’s first full month (December 2013). Betfair’s market share during that time frame: a paltry 9%.
- In September 2014, Betfair’s iGaming partner, Trump Plaza, became the first NJ-based casino affiliated with a regulated online property to shutter its doors, abruptly ending the duo’s strenuous relationship and leaving Betfair in search of a permanent home.
- The next month, Betfair latched on to Caesars‘ iGaming license. However, the operator’s fate in New Jersey remained uncertain, as the agreement came affixed with a six-month term.
The secret(s) of Betfair’s success
While there is no one defining event that vaulted Betfair NJ from pretender to contender, its reversal of fortunes can at least be partially attributed to it finding a like-minded iGaming partner.
Like Betfair, the Golden Nugget was only a modest player during the industry’s infancy. Yet via its stellar platform, vast array of gaming options, aggressive marketing strategy and a host of miscellaneous factors, the site found itself steadily inching up the revenue charts.
The same could be said about the Golden Nugget’s brick-and-mortar operation, which was one of the greatest beneficiaries of the great Atlantic City casino purge of 2014.
Betfair suddenly found itself intimately linked to a casino that was in a definitive growth phase, as opposed to Trump Plaza, which appeared too concerned with its own money problems to be bothered with Internet gaming.
Other factors behind Betfair’s success
- Unlike other non-brick and mortar branded online casinos, which at the onset of regulated iGaming in New Jersey hadn’t accepted a real-money wager on U.S. soil in at best seven years, Betfair was an established commodity in the state. The Betfair powered horse racing channel TVG is available in 35 million homes, and acts as the platform provider for the only legal online horse racing portal in New Jersey, 4NJBets.com.
- Betfair came into New Jersey as one of the largest and most experienced online gaming platform providers on the planet, and it showed. The group’s New Jersey software is as sleek, responsive and feature-rich as any in the state. Not to mention, its library of 140 casino games (and growing) features the most network exclusives.
- Betfair offers the most potentially lucrative sign-up bonus in New Jersey (100% match up to $1,000), a rotating promotional schedule and significant cashback opportunities (up to 1%) via its VIP club.
- The company spared no expense when it came to marketing its New Jersey product.
What’s in store for Betfair
Via a webcast tied to the analyst presentation, Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran hinted at the company’s future in New Jersey.
To sum up:
- The company hopes to launch a NJ-based horse-racing exchange.
- Betfair has temporarily slowed its marketing spend “with the expectation of increasing that later in the year.”
- Startup losses in New Jersey will remain high for “another year or so.”
That being said, the underlying tone of the webcast with regards to New Jersey came off as (cautiously) optimistic, and seemed to solidify the notion that Betfair will remain part of the industry for the long haul. That’s probably a smart move, as Betfair NJ now accounts for approximately 50% of the revenue generated by what is currently the most unlikely of market share leaders in the state’s burgeoning regulated iGaming industry.