[toc]NJ online casinos went on the offensive in September, with nearly half of the industry’s 14 sites increasing their game libraries by double-digits.
At the current rate of expansion, at least three sites could join Golden Nugget Casino in the 300 game club by the time we close the door on 2016.
The rich get richer
Unsurprisingly, most of the biggest movers were sites that already featured the largest game libraries. Resorts Casino led the charge, adding 17 slot games in bringing its total number of slots up to 268, and its total games to 298.
To celebrate the imminent launch of its 300th game, the site is hosting a Road To 300 promotion, where users can earn daily sweepstakes entries and 2x Rewards Points on select games. The promotion ends on October 5, which we presume will be the day the milestone is met.
Caesars Casino was the second most active site, adding 16 new slots in September. At 278 games, the site’s library holds a firm grip on the industry’s fourth spot.
Other double-digit movers:
- Golden Nugget Casino: NJ’s biggest online casino site didn’t disappoint, expanding its slot library by 11 games to 289 (324 games total).
- Mohegan Sun Casino: For the first time, Mohegan Sun didn’t match its sister site Resorts stride for stride. That said, it did grow its library by 10 games to 290, good for third in the industry.
- Pala Casino: Eighth place Pala Casino clearly illustrated its commitment to the NJ market last month, adding 12 slot games and two video poker terminals.
When Pala Casino launched in late 2014, the general feeling was that it was using the NJ market as a proving ground for its software, to eventually be deployed in California. But now that the prospects of CA legalizing any form on iGaming in the immediate future are dim, it appears Pala is trying to make New Jersey work.
Interestingly, Pala now features more slot terminals than the site it shares a license with, Borgata Casino. The Borgata has proven rather lackluster on the expansion front, boasting just 162 games, and adding only four in September.
Still, despite not hosting a single site that features more than 200 games, the Borgata AC license is still a top earner in NJ, presumably based on the strength of its brand.
A new contender enters the ring
In September, the already saturated market became even more cramped when SugarHouse Casino quietly launched an online casino site in New Jersey.
SugarHouse is the first NJ online casino tied to a land-based casino in Pennsylvania. Like Pala, it’s presumably using the NJ market as a testing ground, as Pennsylvania is on a short list of states likely to legalize online gambling in the near future.
But there’s good reason to believe SugarHouse is also vying for a significant stake in the NJ market:
- The launch product consists of 233 games, including 217 slots. It’s game library is already the fifth largest in New Jersey.
- SugarHouse Casino has integrated a thoughtful and innovative player rewards structure, that balances the desires of recreational players with those of more active gamblers.
- The development team has clearly spared no expense on the site’s flashy interface, and smooth running software.
- The operator has licensing ties to NJ’s current market share leader in the Golden Nugget.
Finally, SugarHouse’s game filters are robust enough so that players can find their favorite games with ease. By comparison, most other NJ online casino lobbies lack strong search functionality, making finding games that fall under a specific category a chore.
Multiple filters may not have been needed at 2014, when the average game library was less than 100 games. But these days, operators would prove wise to follow SugarHouse’s example.
Correlation between revenue and game library size remains loose
There is little correlation between a site’s size and its revenue, at least in New Jersey. Yes, the Golden Nugget is both the biggest revenue generator and host to some of the industry’s most stocked sites, but that’s about where the connection ends:
- Resorts/Mohegan remains in the revenue basement, despite ranking second and third in library size.
- Tropicana/Virgin have smallish libraries (~140 games), yet consistently generate more revenue than Caesars, and run neck-and-neck with Borgata.
Then again, there does appear to be a relationship between growth and revenue. As a recent example, the industry’s rate of expansion in August was more tempered than it had been in prior months. Interestingly enough, NJ online casino revenue took a sizable hit, down 9.5 percent to $13.9 million.
That could just be a coincidence, or it just might be that new games and their associated promotions are a consistent driver of traffic to NJ online casino sites.