View From The Top: How BetMGM And Borgata Climbed To Top Of NJ Online Casino Revenue Mountain

Written By Bill Gelman on June 9, 2021 - Last Updated on December 12, 2023
BetMGM Market Leader

When it comes to NJ online casino revenue, Borgata is riding a hot streak, and BetMGM is playing a leading role.

We’re talking back-to-back months of being the Garden State’s Internet gambling market leader.

Could it happen for a third straight month? We’ll find out next week.

For now, the license holder’s March and April performances are worth highlighting. And the Borgata and BetMGM online casino brands are big reasons behind this recent success.

Up until March, Golden Nugget, now Golden Nugget Online Gambling, dominated the New Jersey market. But it’s not like one is blowing the other one out of the water. In April casino revenue, Borgata led the seven license holders with $32.8 million in revenue while GNOG finished a very close second with $32.4 million.

Of course, both played a significant role in New Jersey achieving an all-time high the previous month. Online revenue came in at $113.7 million, with Borgata’s $36.2 million leading the way. GNOG finished No. 2 with $31.5 million.

However, the more eye-catching number is how Borgata’s online revenue is up 164.8% year to date. The Borgata and BetMGM online casino brands continue playing significant roles in this year-over-year growth.

PlayNJ caught up with Matthew Sunderland, vice president of gaming for BetMGM, to chat more about taking over the top spot and future plans.

Viewing BetMGM from the top floor

Within the NJ online casino industry, the big players are holding a big lead over the rest of the field. Really, GNOG and Borgata are fighting over the top two positions while Resorts Digital, led by DraftKings Casino and PokerStars, ranks third.

But becoming No. 1 in New Jersey is no easy task.

We’re talking about an extremely mature market that dates back to late 2013. Golden Nugget online casino is one of the brands that has been there since the beginning.

Golden Nugget (with four brands operating via its license) has been the top performer over the majority of this time. However, BetMGM (previously PlayMGM) wasn’t settling on finishing second-best month after month.

Sure it took several months of closing the gap, but BetMGM and Borgata finally accomplished the goal. At least for now, they are the ones the others are chasing.

Call it a team effort.

“Our successes in iGaming truly are the result of a lot of hard work from the best team in the industry and we expect it to continue – in New Jersey and across all three other gaming states, particularly as we expand and hone our product offering,” said Sunderland.

Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia are the other states he is referencing.

March 2021 was an all-time record month

Before touching on the all-time record month, it’s worth looking back at Borgata’s path to first among the seven NJ online gambling license holders. Remember, it was March 2020 when the global pandemic forced the closure of Atlantic City casinos.

In February 2020, Borgata reported an Internet gaming win of $8.1 million, which at the time was a year-over-year increase of 80.6%. However, that number ranked No. 3 in the market behind Golden Nugget ($19.8 million) and Resorts Digital ($12.5 million).

By April, the first full month AC casinos were closed, Borgata’s monthly online casino revenue surged to $15.9 million, producing a massive 190.5% increase from the previous April. Even though they still ranked third, it was clear the Borgata-BetMGM combo was making tremendous strides.

Sure enough, by the time 2020 came to a close, Borgata ($208.1 million) nearly knocked Resorts out of the No. 2 position ($208.4 million) for the year.

Fast-forward to March of this year, and the Borgata-BetMGM pairing achieved the goal of becoming the market leader. And it took an all-time record number to do it. That number ended up being $36.1 million, making Borgata the first license holder to earn more than $35 million in a single month.

And a big number was certainly needed as GNOG earned $31.7 million.

Sunderland credits BetMGM’s “player-first mentality” for achieving position as market leader.

“BetMGM’s laser-sharp focus on the end-user across product, promotions, and partnerships drives success. In addition to offering the largest exclusive networked in-house progressive jackpot in the country, we continue to provide players with the best promotional offerings, collaborate with content partners to provide players with the best games, and develop countless popular in-house titles, like the exclusive MGM Grand Millions,” said Sunderland.

More about the BetMGM, Borgata online breakdown

There are five skins operating under the Borgata license. And several of them fall under the BetMGM umbrella, which is a partnership between MGM Resorts International and Entain Holdings. Besides BetMGM and Borgata casinos, the others are Party Casino and Party Poker brands.

Pala and Scores online casinos, which are not BetMGM products, also operate under the Borgata Atlantic City license.

While the BetMGM- and Borgata-branded products are undoubtedly big contributors to the revenue stream, unlike other jurisdictions, New Jersey does not break down the numbers by individual operator.

However, for BetMGM, it’s about deploying a multi-brand strategy that is paying off.

“BetMGM is proud of the growth that all our brands have experienced in New Jersey. While Borgata has always been our leader in revenue, BetMGM has recently made great strides and, alongside Party Casino, is equally important to our success in the Garden State,” said Sunderland. “Our multi-brand strategy allows platform and promotional optimization in ways impossible for other operators.”

BetMGM’s plans for increasing market share

These days, BetMGM is looking to achieve similar success in other markets where online casinos and sports betting are offered. Pennsylvania players, for instance, now have access to the BetMGM and Borgata online casino brands. Michigan and West Virginia customers also have BetMGM as one of their sports and casino options and BetMGM Sportsbook has a presence in additional states as well.

Sunderland talked about how New Jersey has played a big role in helping the company grow.

“We’ve had a lot of early success in New Jersey and will rely on our learnings. While every state is unique, through our experience in NJ, we’ve got a great deal of knowledge on what resonates with players,” said Sunderland. “That said, we’ll continue to test and innovate so that we’re constantly improving our product offerings and providing our players the very best online gaming experience.”

So one could say BetMGM’s focus is on becoming the online casino industry leader nationwide. And as more markets pass legislation to regulate online casinos, it will help open that door even wider.

Sunderland noted since last March and in all aspects, BetMGM’s business has started to bear fruit.

“Between September 2020 and April 2021, monthly GGR is up 450% and our market share has doubled; also, during this time, we’ve solidified our positions in iGaming (No. 1) and sports betting (No. 3) through tech. advancements, partnerships, and an unbelievable product offering,” said Sunderland.

“We estimated that, in March 2021, our business became the No. 2 operator in the entire U.S., setting the table for $1 billion in revenue next year. BetMGM is an industry force with great leadership and strategic advantages from our parent organizations and partners. However, the hard work – and the fun – have just begun.”

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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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