5 Reasons NJ Online Casinos Will Continue On A Record-Setting Pace

Written By Bill Gelman on September 16, 2020 - Last Updated on October 21, 2020

In the very near future, the NJ online casino industry has an excellent chance of reporting its first-ever $90 million month.

New Jersey online casino revenue keeps edging closer to that number. In August, revenue hit $87.7 million, which is a new all-time high.

This is the combined total earned by the seven license holders. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released the monthly report on Monday afternoon.

Compared to July’s $87.4 million, the month-to-month performance is relatively flat, even though it’s a new record.

Overall, every iGaming casino license holder saw significant increases, with Golden Nugget once again leading the way. Here is a close look at five standout highlights for August and why a $90 million month is a realistic possibility.

1. NJ online casinos enjoy a summer heat wave

August marks the official end of the Jersey Shore season. Historically, as far as land-based revenue is concerned, July and August are the two biggest months on the calendar.

But as everybody is well aware, 2020 is not a typical year.

Atlantic City casinos continue to operate at 25% capacity as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. While the beaches have been crowded, the gaming halls across the Boardwalk are slowly but surely getting operations up and running again.

For instance, indoor dining finally restarted Sept. 5. For the entire month of August, there was no eating, drinking or smoking permitted at AC casinos. Customers who wanted to grab a bite either had to go outside or up to their hotel room.

And this factor likely kept some loyal customers away.

AC land-based revenue came in at $199 million, which is a 30.5% drop from the $286.4 million reported during the same period in 2019.

NJ online gaming, on the other hand, saw a 113.6% year-over-year increase from $41.1 million in August 2019.

But will this trend continue into September? With casino restaurants serving customers and retail sportsbooks open with NFL odds and viewing, gamblers who have been staying home may suddenly be more inclined to visit. Even so, the momentum is with online casinos.

2. Every license holder saw at least a 59% increase

Who are the winners and losers is one of the first questions that comes up whenever the monthly revenue report is released. Clearly, some license holders continue to maintain a much larger market share than others (more on this soon).

But in August, it’s hard to find a losing brand. The year-over-year increases range from Tropicana’s 59.1% to Hard Rock’s 181.1%.

Even Ocean Casino, with its self-branded online casino app only available on Android devices, reported $726,646 for a 95.5% increase.

Of course, the revenue numbers vary based on the number of online skins each license holder has. Golden Nugget, Borgata and Resorts, for instance, all have at least four brands operating under their respective licenses.

As a result, you will see that their revenue numbers are much higher:

License Holder August 2019 August 2020 % Increase
Golden Nugget $14,986,416$27,650,24984.5%
Borgata $7,134,339$19,778,361177.2%
Resorts Digital $7,447,488$17,888,774140.2%
Caesars Interactive $4,965,364$9,264,46786.6% 
Tropicana $4,061,515$6,462,63359.1%
Hard Rock $2,134,843$6,001,838181%
Ocean $371,622$726,64695.5%
TOTAL $41,101,587$87,772,968113.6%

3. Golden Nugget is still king of NJ online casinos

August did not produce another record-breaking month for Golden Nugget, but the $27.6 million isn’t too shabby.

And it’s $7.8 million more than second-place Borgata earned.

In terms of market share, Golden Nugget claimed 31.5% of the pie. It is Play NJ’s understanding that Golden Nugget online casino accounts for the bulk of that number.

And as a result of Atlantic City’s indoor limitation, the operator’s online gaming results more than tripled the $9.2 million from the gaming floor.

Borgata, which continues to dominate in the casino win category, is gaining ground online. The license holder earned a 22.5% market share for August.

BetMGM casino and Borgata online casino are the two bigger brands operating under the license.

Resorts Digital, led by DraftKings Casino, took a 20.3% market share.

So while Golden Nugget remains ahead of the competition, others are slowly taking more of the pie. That can only be a good thing if the market wants to hit $90 million.

4. The positive impact of NJ sports betting

NJ sports betting is fresh off a record-setting August. This is, of course, referring to the handle of $667.9 million, the highest in US sports betting history.

The next closest is the $614.1 million reported by Nevada back in November.

The reason this number is important is that 90% of the wagers came via sportsbook apps. And the majority of NJ sportsbook apps are integrated with an online casino or poker site. The cross-selling is clearly working.

A big example of this is DraftKings. Its casino customers have a shared wallet with DraftKings Sportsbook. This helped push Resorts up on the scale.

The same deal applies for FanDuel Sportsbook and BetFair NJ online casino customers.

And with Week 2 of the NFL season here and college football betting underway, don’t be surprised if this pattern carries over into the fall.

 5. Follow the online trend

Remember the days when $40 million in online casino revenue seemed like a pretty big deal?

Then $50 million and $60 million months made it seem like nothing. Once Atlantic City casinos closed in mid-March for 100-plus days, the industry took off and is showing no signs of slowing down.

$80 million months are the new normal. Just look at the trends over the past five months:

  • April: $79.9 million
  • May: $85.9 million
  • June: $84.9 million
  • July: $87.4 million
  • August: $87.7 million

But the great mystery to this story is what happens once AC casinos return to full power?

Since that scenario doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon, expect NJ online casinos to continue to deliver strong revenue results.

And with only $2.3 million to go and winter getting closer, the chips are stacked in the house’s favor.

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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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