5 Reasons Why NJ Online Casino Industry Could Continue Setting Records Following July’s $118.7 Million Performance

Posted By Bill Gelman on August 20, 2021

When it comes to NJ online casino revenue, monthly records don’t last long. Based on the latest figures released by the state Divison of Gaming Enforcement, the new number to beat is $118.7 million.

The July total tops the previous high of $113.7 million set in March.

So much the theory that NJ online casino operators would experience a summer slowdown. Besides setting a new monthly record, the 2021 year-to-date total now sits at $752.9 million, making the industry’s first $1-billion year as. close to a sure thing as it gets.

For now, here are five reasons why July’s NJ Internet gaming record may not last long.

1) Clearly, the NJ online casino market is not slowing down

We are now seven months into 2021 (for DGE reporting purposes), and six of those months have seen NJ online casino revenue exceed $100 million. The only month that didn’t was February.

Of course, the first four-plus months of 2021 were impacted by capacity restrictions at Atlantic City casinos and restaurants. The reality is the COVID-related shutdown of land-based gambling introduced more gamblers to this alternative option, and the scenario is continuing to pay dividends for operators.

Some expected that once indoor restrictions were lifted at AC gambling halls, the NJ online casino results would start setting down, possibly dropping below the $100-million plateau. Well, here we are in the heart of the Jersey Shore summer season and it’s clearly not the case. Fourth of July through Labor Day is considered “prime season.”

However, now it seems NJ gamblers prefer playing at their favorite land-based casinos as well as online. Just look at the July numbers. Atlantic City slot and table game revenue came in at  $276.9 million. Another positive sign is five of the nine properties performed better in July 2021 than July 2019 (the last summer not impacted by the pandemic).

From an online perspective, July 2021 versus July 2020 is a more accurate comparison as a result of not having any restrictions. That year-over-year number is up 35.7% from $87.4 million.

Here is the full July NJ online casino breakdown:

LicenseeTotal RevenueCasino RevenuePoker RevenueState TaxLocal Tax
Borgata$36,464,340$35,726,923$737,417$5,469,651$911,608
Golden Nugget Atlantic City$33,504,559$33,504,559$0$5,025,684$837,614
Resorts Atlantic City$23,295,171$22,672,508$622,663$3,494,275$582,380
Caesars Atlantic City$10,194,267$8,481,591$1,712,676$1,529,140$254,857
Tropicana Atlantic City$6,988,798$6,988,798$0$1,048,320$174,720
Hard Rock Atlantic City$6,645,764$6,645,764$0$996,865$166,144
Ocean$1,545,678$1,545,678$0$231,852$38,642
Bally's$46,518$46,518$0$6,978$1,163
Total$118,685,095$115,612,339$3,072,756$17,802,765$2,967,128

2) Borgata/BetMGM sets NJ online casino record pace with $36.5 million

 Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa remains the Atlantic City market leader in just about every key category. July total gaming revenue (combination of land-based, online casino, and sports betting earnings) came in at $106.6 million. To put this number in perspective, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City was the next closest with $55.5.

Zoning in on the online casino portion, the Marina District license holder (led by BetMGM and Borgata online casino) once again claimed the No. 1 spot with $36.5 million. This is a new all-time monthly record for any license holder, slightly topping March’s $36.2 million. And if we are comparing July 2021 versus July 2o20, Borgata is up an eye-opening 138.4% ($15.3 million). Take the MGM-owned property out of the equation and overall NJ online casino revenue barely cracks $82 million.

Through the first seven months of 2021, Borgata has reported just under $227 million in iGaming revenue (up 137.8%).

Suddenly, the idea of a license holder having a $40-plus-million month doesn’t sound so unrealistic. The “when” as opposed to the “if” is the bigger question.

3) GNOG’s performance is also hard to ignore

Prior to March, Golden Nugget Online Gaming (led by Golden Nugget online casino) had a firm grip on the No. 1 position. Despite dropping down a spot, the license holder continues to put up solid numbers with the most recent total coming in at $33,5 million.  So there is only about a $3 million difference between the two market leaders.

Going forward, there are a couple of wild cards to consider.

For one, GNOG is known for taking a forward-thinking approach, whether it be rolling out new exclusive slot titles or improving the table game product. This includes expanding the live dealer studio located inside the Golden Nugget Atlantic City. The company announced during its most recent earnings call that the 1,800 square foot expansion is targeted for a Q3 completion.

The other factor is the collection of skins operating under the GNOG license, with one of them being FanDuel Casino. FanDuel is of course the NJ sports betting market leader. The intriguing twist is last month the company rolled out a standalone NJ casino app. Prior to that, gamblers could access the table games and slots via the FanDuel Sportsbook app.

But with NFL betting season fast approaching, could the FanDuel Casino brand could soon become a bigger contributor to the GNOG online casino pie?

It’s too soon to truly say as August will be the first full month for the live FanDuel Casino app. And unlike neighboring Pennsylvania, the NJDGE monthly reports do not include an operator breakdown.

As far as whether or not the new offering will have an impact on GNOG’s overall NJ results, check back in November and December.

4) Resorts Digital, DraftKings still going strong, about to get bigger

Resorts Digital (DraftKingsPokerStarsMohegan Sun, and Resorts) placed a distant third behind Borgata and GNOG with $23.3 million for July. To put this number in perspective it’s more than the combined monthly total from Caesars InteractiveTropicana, and Ocean Casino Resort. Plus it tops the $18.6 million that Resorts AC won from slots and table games.

And comparing it to the same period in 2020, Resorts Digital is up 29.2%, good enough for second best behind Borgata. Year to date, Resorts Digital’s online casino business is showing an increase of more than 41%  (just under$151 million).  Expect that number to get stronger as DraftKings gears up for its biggest season of the year. NFL bettors are known to dabble with blackjack and craps while waiting for sports wagers to play out.

Now for the surprising twist. Barstool Casino is the fifth and final skin operating under the Resorts Digital license. The soft launch or testing phase began on Thursday and is expected to last through early next week. Time will tell how long it takes for the Barstool Casino product to build a Garden State customer base.

 

5) Bally’s AC and PointsBet casino just warming up

Around this time last month, July 22 to be exact, PointsBet Casino went live in the Garden State with an extremely limited library of games. So essentially we are talking about nine full days of business. And out of the starting gates, gamblers could only access the games via a web browser.

The new offering is the first skin to launch under the new Bally’s Atlantic City license. However, the $46,518 in revenue really didn’t factor into July’s overall performance when talking about $118 million. Of course, PointsBet and other skins launching via Bally’s (Bally Bet included) could play a more significant role during future months when NJ sports betting handle will likely cross the $1 billion monthly mark. The cross-selling model has proven to be extremely successful n the Garden State and other jurisdictions.

The timing of the Bally Bet app NJ launch is still unknown. The operator, no matter when it takes place, will need time to promote its brand and get customers to sign up. The same theory goes for any additional skins launching under Bally’s AC license this year.

However, an additional $1 to $2 million in monthly NJ online casino revenue makes that $120-mllion mark well within reach. We’ll chalk this one up as a developing scenario.

Dreamstime Photo 

 

 

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman is a veteran sports writer based just outside of Philadelphia and not too far from the Jersey Shore. Bill spends time in Atlantic City writing about casino openings and expansions, special events and now NJ sports betting and online gambling.

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