Let this number sink in for a minute: $79.9 million.
It is fair to say New Jersey online casino revenue far exceeded expectations.
Early channel checks from the NJ and PA #online #casino markets indicate that the post-COVID-19 growth spike observed in March continued through April. We expect 10-30% m/m online casino GGR growth in both markets, and wouldn't be surprised if the NJ market (ex poker) tops $70mm.
— Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) May 6, 2020
It is unbelievable that online casinos in New Jersey began the year by earning a record $55 million in January. Now, just a few months later, those same online casinos increased revenue by 43%.
Of course, no one could predict a global pandemic would close Atlantic City casinos for a month (and counting). Certainly, April’s revenue figure would not have been as high if AC casinos were open.
But here we are with another revenue record on our hands.
Surely, retail casino customers are finding their way to one of the online casinos in New Jersey. That certainly helps explain such a large spike in revenue.
What might be surprising is this seems to represent a new demographic for online casinos.
Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio said on a recent investor’s call that before the closures, online and brick-and-mortar casinos attracted two different demographics.
“It [online casino gambling] was totally different younger demographic skewed more male, and it was a different customer than a brick-and-mortar customer leading up to the closures. There was no cannibalization.”
When the time finally comes for AC casinos to open, we’ll have to wait and see if everyone returns to their normal betting patterns, or if new habits lead to some cannibalization between the verticals.
NJ online casino highlights
Once again, Golden Nugget comes out on top with $27.6 million in revenue. It is another revenue record for the undisputed leader of online casinos. It represents an 18.6% increase when compared with last month and a 99.5% increase compared with last April.
Other April highlights include:
- NJ online casino revenue of $79.9 million represents a 23.5% increase in revenue over March. Additionally, that is a 53.9% increase over February, the last full month of retail casino operation and 118.5% over last April.
- Every casino posted record revenue for the month of April. In March, Ocean Casino Resort was the only casino that didn’t post a new record.
- NJ online poker records its second record-setting month in a row with $5.1 million. Sporting a staggering 208.7% year-over-year increase is a welcomed surprise to the once-struggling market.
- Ocean posted the largest year-over-year increase (266.7%) for its online casino with $1.1 million in revenue, its first time posting a seven-digit revenue figure.
- Borgata claimed the largest market share percentage increase (19.8%) with $15.9 in revenue, but overall there was a huge change in market share compared with last month.
NJ online casinos by the numbers
Revenue / ∆ Month Over Month / ∆ Year Over Year:
Online casinos: $74.8 million / +22.3% / +114.3%
Online poker: $5.1 million / +41.9% / +208.7%
Total online casino revenue: $79.9 million / +23.4% / +118.6%
April 2020 online casino revenue, by operator
|Operator||Poker Revenue||Casino Revenue||Total Gaming Win|
|Borgata / Party / BetMGM||$1,220,076||$14,648,385||$15,868,461|
|Caesars / Harrah's / 888||$1,862,004||$6,865,768||$8,727,772|
|Golden Nugget / Betfair / BetAmerica / SugarHouse||$-||$27,642,909||$27,642,909|
|Hard Rock / Unibet / Bet365||$-||$4,483,830||$4,483,830|
|Ocean Casino / Parx Casino||$-||$1,131,108||$1,131,108|
|Resorts AC / DraftKings / PokerStars||$2,066,293||$14,052,743||$16,119,036|
|Tropicana / Virgin||$-||$5,986,710||$5,986,710|
AC casino market share
Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a big mover in terms of market share this month. It seems like online casinos with a big retail presence, like Borgata, might see a significant gain in market share. We saw some of that in March, but not so much in April.
Borgata did gain the most market share when it went from 18.85% in March to 19.8% in April.
Other casinos that gained market share were:
- Caesars (10.9%, up from 10.3% )
- Hard Rock (5.6%, up from 5.1% )
- Ocean (1.4%, up from 1%)
The one casino missing from the list of gainers is Golden Nugget. While it still has a firm grip on the revenue lead in the market, it did lose some of its market share. It went from 35.9% in March to 34.6% in April.
Online casinos also losing market share include:
- Resorts (20.2%, down from 20.8% )
- Tropicana (7.5%, down from 7.9%)
What about Atlantic City casinos?
NJ online casinos are just a small part of the gambling tax revenue the Garden State receives. The lion share comes from AC casinos. Seeing an empty Casino Win column is somewhat surreal.
While online casinos have benefited from the closure of brick-and-mortar casinos, it is certainly not enough to fill the gap.
So, what happens when AC casinos reopen? Will gamblers retreat from online casino play in favor of the live gaming floor?
Casinos are beginning to release reopening plans even though a date for them to reopen has yet to be announced. Once casinos do open, however, it will be anything but business as usual.
If even pent-up demand brings crowds to Atlantic City to get their gambling fix, it just won’t be the same.
There will likely be limitations on the number of people allowed inside facilities to help maintain social distancing. Other precautions, including wearing masks, will also be enforced to ensure the safety of casino workers and customers.
Will people be willing to travel to AC for unfamiliar and uncertain customer experience? Or will online gambling continue on its upward trajectory?
Rummy Pandit, executive director of Stockton University’s Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism, told Casino.org that it could take a year before things look and feel “normal.”
“When properties do eventually open to the public, it will likely be gradual and scaled to match consumer demand. Consumer confidence and comfort with travel will likely take the longest to rebound, and it may be some time before visitor volume returns to pre-pandemic levels.”
While we celebrate historic NJ online casino revenue figures, let’s remember AC casinos are sitting empty, losing about $42 million per week and much more when you count all the ancillary businesses.
Pandit concluded, “We likely won’t see a return to pre-pandemic levels in time for the 2020 summer season, but do anticipate looking at a more ‘normal’ season in 2021.”