For the third time in four months, NJ online casino revenue glided across the $100-million mark. Actually, April’s $107.7 million revenue tally currently ranks No. 2 all-time.
The state Division of Gaming Enforcement released April numbers last week.
However, are $100-million-plus months going to remain the norm here in the Garden State? If so, how high will the monthly figures go before settling down?
The big unknown going forward is whether or not some of the online players will start gambling more at Atlantic City casinos now that capacity limits are lifted as of May 19. Remember, this current online surge by the seven online casino license holders dates back to last spring when the nine AC gambling halls were closed for 100-plus days.
No matter how things unfold going forward, the April results are hard to ignore. Here is a look at five reasons why online casinos are still dealing a winning hand.
1) April total is No. 2 all-time, for now
April’s revenue result of $107.7 million is down slightly from March’s all-time high of $113.7 million, but it’s still a solid result. The difference is more noticeable when compared to the previous April. Remember when a nearly $80-million month was considered a very big deal? One year later, the industry experienced a 34.8% year-over-year increase.
Based on recent trends, it seems unlikely NJ online casinos will see another $80-million month anytime soon, possibly ever again. At this point, the bar is right around the high $90 million to low $100 million range. Even the industry’s first $120-million month doesn’t seem unrealistic at this point. February’s $93.8 million is the low so far this year, and it may partially be a result of the month only being 28 days.
Here is a recap of the last five months ranked in revenue order:
- March 2021: $113.7 million
- April 2021: $107.7 million
- January 2021: $103.7 million
- December 2020: $99.4 million
- February 2021: $93.8 million
Year to date, which doesn’t include December, Internet gaming revenue is on pace to crack the half-billion mark this month. The year-to-date total is a tad under $419 million, good enough for a 66.4% year-0ver-year increase.
2) Golden Nugget and Borgata leaders of NJ online casino race
Pick your favorite pro sports rivalry, whether it be the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys or New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. In New Jersey, Golden Nugget Online Gaming and Borgata continue going head to head over monthly bragging rights.
GNOG, led by Golden Nugget online casino, has been the Bronx Bombers, regularly claiming monthly and yearly bragging rights. However, Borgata, at least over these last two months, has knocked the market leader down to No. 2. Having the BetMGM online casino brand is a big reason behind the recent success. While the DGE doesn’t break down the results by the individual operators, BetMGM is a name with a national following.
For April, GNOG reported $32.4 million, up $17.3% from the same period last year. Borgata earned $32.8 million, which marks a $106.8% increase.
Year to date, this battle between market leaders is like a late September pennant chase. Borgata comes in at $123.4 million while GNOG is lurking close behind at $123.2 million.
Resorts Digital, led by DraftKings Casino, is a distant third with $83.6 million for the first four months of 2021. All three are seeing year-to-date increases of at least 34.1%.
3) NJ online casino-sports betting connection
New Jersey’s total gaming revenue for the month of April came in at $320.5 million, which is up 297% year over year. The result is not surprising as all nine AC casinos were closed in April 2020.
That grand total is a combination of Atlantic City casino revenue, $189.6 million, NJ sports betting revenue, $54.8 million, and the $107.7 million earned from online casino and poker apps. NJ online casinos alone reported $105.3 million, making up 40.8% of the overall revenue. The other $2.4 million came from online poker.
However, at the same time, April was another milestone month for NJ sports betting. The monthly handle of just under $750 million pushed the Garden State’s lifetime total past $15 billion, and we are talking over a period of just under three years.
June 14, 2018, is the date NJ Gov. Phil Murphy placed the first legal sports wagers at the Monmouth Park William Hill sportsbook. And NJ online casinos have clearly benefited since this historic date. The third anniversary is less than a month away
Today, the word “billions” is often used when talking about the two industries,
4) Bally’s AC preparing to enter online casino game
Anybody who takes a close look at the monthly DGE report will notice there is still one license holder watching from the sidelines. Bally’s Atlantic City has yet to launch online casino skins under its license.
However, this will be changing at some point this year as Bally’s Corp. took over property ownership in late 2020. The Bally’s team is in the process of making many changes and upgrades, and preparing to get a slice of the online casino pie is one of them.
Those plans include rolling out the Bally Bets brand at some point this year. Plus, PointsBet and theScore Bet, who are already part of the NJ sports betting industry, are preparing to launch online casino apps via land-based partnerships with Bally’s. If all three products arrive prior to NFL betting season, it will be interesting to see how will it impact monthly online casino results.
There will be gamblers wanting to try out the new apps, but will more established apps experience a dropoff in business?
The bottom line is the NJ market remains a very attractive entry point for online casino brands around the world.
5) The Atlantic City wild card
Since about this time last year, AC casinos have either been closed or operating at reduced capacities. There was even a period of time when indoor dining wasn’t even an option.
Over this same period, Internet gaming revenue records have been set on almost a monthly basis. It seems highly unlikely online casino players will stop playing, even if they make weekly visits to the Jersey Shore. Online apps do not require paying tolls or a full tank of gas. Plus many of the online apps offer customers the opportunity to earn tier points and rewards that can be used at an Atlantic City casino of choice.
However, this month is the first time since March 2020 that casinos are operating at full capacity under CDC guidelines. So there is a possibility the online industry may see a slight dropoff, but long term, April will not be the last $100-million month the industry sees.