The question of when the NJ online casino industry will have its first $100-million-plus month is now answered.
January’s NJ Internet gambling revenue came in at $103.7 million, setting a new all-time high as well.
The number tops the previous record of $99.4 million, set in December.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released the latest figures last week. Percentage-wise, the total is 88.4% increase from the same period last year ($55 million).
And what a difference a year makes. Back in January 2020, $50 million was the benchmark within reach.
So the new bar is set. But how much over $100 million will the online gambling business grow?
Here’s a look at five things to watch as 2021 continues to unfold.
1) Online gambling revenue supporting AC
Talk to any Atlantic City casino executive, and they will likely say the brick-and-mortar business is the “bread and butter.”
Being that properties cost over $1 billion to build, they should be. However, these are unique times as a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions that have come with it. Casino floor capacity limits were increased from 25% to 35% earlier this month.
But we will need to wait until February numbers come out to see if it makes a difference.
With that being said, the January casino win came in at $160 million, accounting for 54% of the total gaming revenue. Meanwhile, the mobile business made up 35% of the pie.
But with the support of NJ online casino and sports betting revenue, total gross revenue was up 9.4% for January.
The asterisk is AC casinos were still operating at 100% capacity this time last year. How will this equation change once casino floors start operating at over 50% again?
The unknowns make this a hard question to answer.
2) Golden Nugget breaks $31 million, again
Golden Nugget (now under Golden Nugget Online Gaming) once again led the pack with $31 million, which nearly set a new all-time high for the license holder. The $31.5 million set in July 2020 remains No. 1.
It’s Play NJ’s understanding that Golden Nugget online casino accounts for the bulk of the total, but three other brands contributed in some form, too. They are:
- Betfair NJ online casino
- SugarHouse online casino
- BetAmerica Casino
More importantly, combined, these four operators continue to outperform GN’s Marina District property by a significant margin.
Golden Nugget AC reported a land-based casino win of just under $10 million. They finished just ahead of Bally’s, who had a casino win of $8.6 million. But the property at the center of the Atlantic City Boardwalk was recently taken over by Bally’s Corp. and is going through a transitional phase.
However, Golden Nugget online casino is an established brand, and its loyal customers will not be vanishing anytime soon
3) Borgata + BetMGM up nearly 180%
Borgata, as a license holder, is the big winner in terms of year-over-year percentage growth. The $28.7 million, besides being just under $3 million away from Golden Nugget, is up an eye-opening 176.8 %.
To put this number in perspective, Hard Rock (Unibet, Bet365, and Hard Rock) finished a very distant second with 128.8%. And their monthly revenue was only $5.6 million.
Plus, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Borgata numbers continue to skyrocket with a jump of more than $18 million since his time last year.
The heavy marketing efforts by BetMGM continue to pay dividends with building a Garden State customer base. Combined with the strong Borgata casino brand, there is a strong one-two punch working well here.
As far as the exact breakdown goes between BetMGM, Borgata, and other brands operating under the license, the DGE only reports results by license holder. However, Borgata, now with a 27.6% market share, is giving Golden Nugget (30% market share) some stiff competition.
At this point, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Borgata takes over the top spot at some point this year.
4) NJ sports betting and the $1 billion boost
NJ sports betting enjoyed another record month with nearly $960 million in bets. More importantly, the 19 sportsbook operators reported a record $82.6 million in revenue.
In terms of handle, January ranks No. 2 all-time behind December’s $996.3 million. The same two months rank No. 1 and 2 and all-time in terms of NJ online casino revenue.
Sure, a good portion of this rapid rise is a direct result of Atlantic City casinos being closed for 100-plus days in 2020. Gamblers needed, and found, another option.
The other is the cross-selling model where casino, sports and poker players have access to a shared wallet. Players have easy access to jump from one platform to another. Do some live betting then go play some blackjack or slots.
Based on the sports calendar, there is a realistic chance of numbers increasing across the board. February started off with Super Bowl betting, which means March Madness betting is right around the corner. These are the two biggest wagered events.
This is the holiday season for sportsbook customers as operators roll out some of their best sign-up offers and promos of the year.
As far as the financial impact goes, wait for the next three months of revenue reports.
5) NJ online casino watch: WynnBet and William Hill
The New Jersey online casino market now consists of some 30+ gambling sites hosted by two dozen brands. This includes online poker apps.
So when a new operator quietly launches a new app, it’s doesn’t generate as much buzz as players are already loyal to certain bands. However, Wynn (WynnBet) and William Hill (William Hill online casino) are well-known names in the gambling industry around the world. And both companies rolled out products to Garden State customers in 2020.
Being that the DGE doesn’t break down the revenue by operator, it’s hard to really gauge how well these brands are performing.
However, their land-based partners saw significant jumps in January. Tropicana (Virgin, Tropicana, and William Hill) reported $7 million in revenue compared to $4.3 million for the same period in 2020. That’s good enough for a 61.5% year-over-year increase.
Meanwhile, the Caesars Interactive portfolio, which consists of the flagship brand, World Series of Poker, 888, and Harrah’s, now includes WynnBet, too. Internet gambling revenue came in at $7.4 million, for a year-over-year increase of 74.3% ($4.3 million).