New Jersey is still in lockdown, Atlantic City casinos are still closed and sports are still in hibernation.
Sounds pretty dismal; however, this week has seen a bit of movement.
Some states are beginning to lift restrictions. There are even rumblings of sports returning soon, and four casinos in Idaho and Oklahoma reopened to the public.
However, things are a little bleaker here in the Garden State. Gov. Phil Murphy extended New Jersey’s public health emergency through June 6.
He also announced a six-step plan to reopen the state. Unfortunately, reopening AC casinos is still a ways off.
With a focus on keeping customers and employees safe, there will undoubtedly be changes to the gaming floor when casinos in Atlantic City reopen.
In the meantime, and luckily for the state and casino players, NJ online casinos are doing well. But is it enough to fill the void?
While we wait to see Atlantic City rise from the ashes (again), there is no doubt that the Boardwalk will look different when it does.
Caesars selling Bally’s clears the way for the Caesars-Eldorado deal to move forward. It may be moving slow, but it is moving.
Here are those and other NJ online gambling news headlines for this week.
NJ online casinos fill the void left by closed AC casinos
As expected, during March, AC casinos saw a huge (47%) drop from the same period last year. AC casinos were only closed for half of the month.
As AC casino revenue declines, NJ online casino revenue increases. Online gaming revenue posted a 65% increase compared with last March.
With the casinos closed for the entire month, we know there won’t be any land-based casino revenue in NJ for April. Which means NJ online casino revenue will increase even more.
In fact, experts are expecting some big numbers when the Division of Gaming Enforcement releases online casino revenue data next week.
Early channel checks from the NJ and PA #online #casino markets indicate that the post-COVID-19 growth spike observed in March continued through April. We expect 10-30% m/m online casino GGR growth in both markets, and wouldn't be surprised if the NJ market (ex poker) tops $70mm.
— Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) May 6, 2020
While these numbers are impressive, it is just a drop in the bucket compared to the usual casino win. For instance, in February, casino win was $218.3 million.
Of course, these are not normal times. While online casinos will never replace its land-based counterpart, it is providing some much-needed revenue to a state that has been hard hit during the pandemic.
How will AC casinos keep people safe, post-pandemic?
Will casino workers feel safe to go back to work when AC casinos open? Will customers feel safe playing slots on the gaming floor?
Those are the million-dollar questions.
There is no doubt that AC casinos will put into place several enhanced safety measures to keep employees and casino workers safe. We can expect:
- To wear masks
- Cashless transactions
- Social distancing
- Frequent cleaning
Unfortunately, casinos are battling for more than just customers. They are fighting to maintain the customer experience.
It will be a big task for AC casinos to truly connect with their customers during a time when an interaction will be limited.
Caesars-Eldorado merger’s impact on Atlantic City
The Caesars-Eldorado merger is inching toward the finish line. Besides the approval of the Federal Trade Commission, the deal needs approval from the following states:
- New Jersey
There was some concern over one company owning such a large share of AC casinos. The sale of Bally’s helped alleviate those concerns.
Memorial Day, the official start of the city’s busy season, is fast approaching.
With Atlantic City casinos closed and unlikely to be open by then, there are financial implications. It makes one wonder if one company can absorb the massive loss of income?
However, there is motivation to get this deal done. In fact, it might even get done before the casinos can reopen. Then the real work begins.
NJ sports betting news
Everyone is itching for sports to return. NJ sports betting just hasn’t been the same. Bettors tried to get behind table tennis, but in the end, they just couldn’t.
Well, it looks like there is some hope players will be back on the court, field, and ice sometime this summer.
The NBA is exploring its options, which include games at Walt Disney World. There were rumors that the season would be canceled, but LeBron James quickly dispelled them.
MLB has rumors of its own out there. July is being touted as the timeline for its season opener. It will be an abbreviated season, and there may be some division realignment. And until MLB returns, we have Korean baseball (KBO),
While the major sports leagues are formulating their plans, UFC 249 is scheduled to take place this weekend.
UFC President Dana White tried to get something going in April, but it was canceled soon after the schedule was announced. Fortunately, it looks like this weekend’s bouts are still on.
There are odds at most NJ sportsbooks apps, including:
In addition to UFC 249, NJ sports betting customers are flocking to the racetrack, virtually, of course. This weekend’s racing events include:
- Gulfstream Park
- Tampa Bay Downs
- Remington Park
- Los Alamitos
The big excitement, however, is the return of racing to Churchill Downs next weekend.
NJ horse bettors can get in on the action at 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.