After A Three-Year Reign At The Top, Golden Nugget Captures The Online Casino Revenue Throne From Borgata

Posted By Steve Ruddock on October 17, 2016

[toc]For the sixth consecutive month, the New Jersey online gambling industry tallied more than $16 million in monthly revenue.

If history is any indication, revenue will continue to rise for the remainder of the year, as Q4 has historically been the industry’s best quarter.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement’s monthly revenue report was released this week, and it showed the state’s strong year-over-year growth trend doesn’t appear to be slowing.

The industry was up 35 percent in September.

Individually, online poker was up 14 percent and online casino was up 39 percent.

  • September 2016 online casino revenue: $14.2 million
  • September 2016 online poker revenue: $2 million
  • September 2016 total online gambling revenue: $16.2 million

A new sheriff in town

After a significant drop-off in August, New Jersey’s online gaming operators rebounded nicely in September, with year-over-year growth of 35 percent, and month-over-month growth coming in at 8 percent.

But the big story happened not at the macro, but at the micro level, as Borgata lost its hold on the top spot for the first time in New Jersey online casino history.

Legal online gambling has been live in New Jersey for 35 months.

For the first 34 of those months, Borgata was the revenue leader in the clubhouse each and every month, outpacing all of its competitors. That run came to an end in September, when Golden Nugget supplanted Borgata as the top revenue generator in the market.

Golden Nugget’s path to the top is made all the more impressive when you consider it doesn’t offer online poker; all of its revenue is generated through its online casino brands.

2016 continues to buck trends

Another positive sign for New Jersey online gambling is that the industry’s seasonal declines are becoming more abbreviated.

For the first time, New Jersey online gambling operators experienced a revenue bounce from August to September. In 2014 and 2015, the industry saw seasonal declines in April, May, and June, followed by a second decline in August and September.

This year, the industry saw month-over-month declines in May, June, and August. April and September both bucked the historical trends.

YoY growth continues

Here is a look at the market’s percentage of YoY changes in 2016:

  • January +26%
  • February +42%
  • March +18%
  • April +34%
  • May +33%
  • June +40%
  • July +39%
  • August +32%
  • September +35%

And this growth in 2016 is merely a continuation of the trend we saw develop in 2015:

  • January +18%
  • February +9%
  • March +10%
  • April +10%
  • May +19%
  • June +23%
  • July +24%
  • August +16%
  • September +15%
  • October +22%
  • November +51%
  • December +31%

nj-online-gambling-comp-sept-2016

How did the individual operators do?

  1. Borgata: $3,387,237
    1. Borgata iPoker: $631,476
    2. Borgata iCasino: $2,755,761
  2. Caesars: $3,238,455
    1. Caesars iPoker: $641,398
    2. Caesars iCasino: $2,597,047
  3. Tropicana: $3,035,828
  4. Golden Nugget: $3,659,348
  5. Resorts: $2,911,041
    1. Resorts iPoker: $744,045
    2. Resorts iCasino: $2,166,996

Borgata’s hold on top spot increasingly tenuous

Last month, I said Borgata’s hold on the top spot of the monthly revenue reports was fragile, but I didn’t expect the casino to cede it in September. And I certainly didn’t expect Borgata to trail Golden Nugget by nearly 10 percent in September.

One possible explanation for Borgata’s decline is a casino jackpot.

Borgata was the only online casino in the market that experienced a YoY decline, and the decline was substantial, nearly 12 percent. If the reason is indeed due to a large jackpot, Golden Nugget’s reign could be short-lived – or maybe not, as I’ll explain in just a moment.

Golden Nugget tops the market

Golden Nugget took over the top spot in September, but somewhat surprisingly, it wasn’t the casino’s best month to date: That would be July 2016.

Furthermore, it seems like the casino’s best days are still ahead of it, as Golden Nugget has a lot of irons in the fire.

First, Golden Nugget recently launched live dealer games, and these are slowly gaining steam. Perhaps more importantly, PlaySugarHouse.com launched under the Golden Nugget umbrella in mid-September.

October will be the first full month of PlaySugarHouse.com, which may impact next month’s revenue report.

Tropicana back over the $3 million mark

After dipping below the $3 million mark in August, Tropicana’s online casino revenue was up over 6 percent in September, pushing the Trop back over the $3 million mark.

[show-table name=cta-tropicana]

Resorts settling in around $3 million

Resorts seems to have found its sweet spot in the market, as its total online gambling numbers have fluctuated between $2,703,042 and $3,052,298 during the past five months (see the bolded trend line below).

This isn’t to say Resorts has hit its ceiling – indeed it is far from it.

October could be the casino’s best month to date, as it is hosting a major online and live poker tournament series in conjunction with PokerStars, which should see online poker revenue rise significantly next month.

Resorts’ online gaming performance since launch:

  • February 2015: $50,909
  • March 2015: $154,071
  • April 2015: $212,739
  • May 2015: $324,662
  • June 2015: $400,600
  • July 2015: $558,316
  • August 2015: $735,140
  • September 2015: $944,299
  • October 2015: $899,184
  • November 2015: $1,215,832
  • December 2015: $1,288,079
  • January 2016: $1,434,295
  • February 2016: $1,318,338
  • March 2016: $1,878,097
  • April 2016: $3,478,108
  • May 2016: $2,995,558
  • June 2016: $2,703,042
  • July 2016: $3,052,298
  • August 2016: $2,896,284
  • September 2016: $2,911,044

Caesars gaining ground

Caesars online casino has been growing steadily throughout 2016, and very quietly the company has gained a significant market share.

It will be interesting to see if the sale of its social casino, Playtika, and the blending of Caesars’ real money online gambling products and land-based operations (Caesars Interactive was disbanded following the sale of Playtika) keeps the company’s New Jersey growth trend going.

Historical look at online gambling revenue in NJ

nj-online-gambling-rev-adjusted-sept-2016

Be sure to check our New Jersey online gambling revenue page for a detailed breakdown of online gambling revenue in the Garden State.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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