5 Reasons Why NJ Online Casinos Are Eying Record-Setting $1 Billion Year

Posted By Bill Gelman on July 23, 2021

If you guessed June’s NJ online casino revenue would come in below $110 million, you win.

However, the first partial month of the summer season was another strong one for the Internet gambling industry. Based on the latest figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, NJ online casino revenue came in at $107 million, which ranks No. 4 all-time.

We’ll call the result relatively flat compared to the two previous months. The total is slightly off from May’s $108.2 million.

This makes it five out of the first six months of the year where monthly revenue has exceeded $100 million. The year-to-date total is now $634.2 million and counting.

The bottom line is the Garden State market is showing no signs of slowing down. As a matter of fact, don’t be surprised if several more records are broken before 2021 comes to a close. Here’s a look at five things worth watching as the NJ online casino biz remains on pace for its first-ever billion-dollar year.

1) We are not seeing a summer slow down, yet

New Jersey weather remains hot and humid, making the conditions ideal for sitting on the beach and walking the world-famous Boardwalk. However, the gamblers in that crowd have yet to switch their NJ online casino apps to summer mode.

All it takes is one look at the numbers.

Out of the seven license holders, five reported NJ online casino revenue of $5.8 million or better. Ocean Casino Resort was the only one not to hit the mark, reporting just $1.2 million. Granted, that number is a 17.3% increase over the same month last year. Ocean’s online portfolio currently consists of its self-branded app and Parx. So there is still plenty of room for growth and improvement.

Plus, it’s hard to ignore the fact that five of the seven license holders saw year-over-year increases from June 2020 ranging from 3% to 103.2%. Why does this matter, you ask?

Well, Atlantic City casinos were still preparing to reopen last June. At that time, NJ’s online casino revenue came in at a very strong $84.9 million. Last month’s result is a 26.1% year-over-year increase from that number.

Here is a breakdown of the most recent results:

LicenseeTotal RevenueCasino RevenuePoker RevenueState TaxLocal Tax
Borgata$34,329,142$33,596,155$732,987$5,149,371$858,229
Golden Nugget$27,600,158$27,600,158$0$4,140,024$690,004
Resorts$22,527,307$21,942,792$584,515$3,379,096$563,183
Caesars$9,364,121$8,472,249$891,872$1,404,618$234,103
Tropicana$6,230,723$6,230,723$0$934,608$155,768
Hard Rock$5,774,934$5,774,934$0$866,240$144,373
Ocean$1,227,553$1,227,553$0$184,133$30,689
Total$107,053,938$104,844,564$2,209,374$16,058,090$2,676,349

2) NJ online casino revenue versus Atlantic City land-based casinos

The $214.5 million in Atlantic City casino revenue is a welcome sign compared to the column of blank spaces under 2020. However, the totals are still below pre-pandemic levels.

Atlantic City casino operators consider land-based revenue to be their bread and butter. Now it almost seems like NJ online casino revenue is becoming the butter on the bread.

At the same time, when you put that same number in the Atlantic City total gaming revenue pie, land-based casinos accounted for 62% of the revenue. NJ online casinos accounted for 30.9%.

This equation is telling us that gamblers are happy to have casinos open again, but many of these same players continue to be content legally gambling on mobile devices or computers.

Two of the license holders Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), led by Golden Nugget online casino, and Resorts Digital, led by DraftKings Casino, continue to outperform land-based operations.

GNOG reported $27.6 million in revenue, good enough for No. 2 behind Borgata’s $34.3 million. By comparison, Golden Nugget Atlantic City only earned $12.2 million in June.

The online casino portion for Resorts Digital came in at $22.5 million, good enough for a 31% year-over-year increase. Resorts Atlantic City, meanwhile, reported $13.8 million.

July and August may tell a different story as the summer months are billed as the prime season at the Jersey Shore, but it seems unlikely.

The reality is Atlantic City’s nine casinos need a lot more than two hot summer months to turn things around from the extended shutdown and capacity restrictions that were in place for the majority of 2021.

3) Borgata looking even stronger thanks to Internet gambling results

When it comes to Atlantic City revenue, Borgata Atlantic City is the heavyweight champion that is impossible to knock down for the count. Year to date, the MGM-owned property’s land-based casino revenue is at $265.5 million.

Hard Rock Atlantic City is the next closest with $186.3 million.

Now here is where things are getting even more interesting. In June alone, Borgata earned a market-leading $34.3 million in NJ online gambling revenue. That number is a 103.2% year-over-year increase from the same period last year. BetMGM and Borgata-branded products are a major reason behind the tremendous growth.

Now add that number to the total gaming revenue, which includes land-based, online casino, and NJ sports betting revenue Borgata earned for June, and you get a market-leading year-to-date total of $493.3 million.

Hard Rock is the next closest with $41.6 million for June and $225.9 million overall.

4) Bally’s AC is getting skin in the NJ online casino game

Bally’s Atlantic City is in the process of officially becoming part of the NJ Internet gambling market. PointsBet Casino is the first app out of the gates, live as of Thursday night.

Bally Bet, Bally’s online brand, is expected next. TheScore will also be debuting a casino product via a land-based partnership with Bally’s. The other two apps will need to clear regulatory approvals before becoming available to NJ gamblers.

Bally’s Corp. (previously Twin River Worldwide Holdings) is thinking big when it comes to online gambling. The company is building an omnichannel presence for a reason. The iGaming sector falls under Bally’s Interactive, with the Bally Bet brand being the centerpiece. New Jersey is a huge piece of the puzzle.

Some may view this as a scenario where the new license holder is entering the market too late. How could they possibly gain a significant market share when going against established leaders like BetMGM, Golden Nugget Online Gaming, or Resorts Digital?

Well, it sort of answers the question. Prior to this year, Golden Nugget dominated the NJ online casino biz. However, the license holder has dropped to No. 2.

For now, the focus is on generating some NJ online casino revenue. In terms of the overall impact of Bally’s entering the space goes, it really depends on how quickly the other products receive DGE clearance.

So this scenario will be easier to judge come NFL betting season once additional offerings could be available.

5) Hello, NFL betting season is fast approaching

Speaking of NFL betting, the summer months could potentially be the warm-up act. It’s no secret that the NJ sports betting market is on the verge of producing its first $1-billion month. Don’t be surprised if it comes as soon as September.

Remember, the Garden State got real close back in December 2020 when the monthly handle came in at $996.3 million – a record for any legal U.S. sports betting destination. Those rounding up can technically call it a billion, but pretty soon it won’t be necessary.

So what does this have to do with online casino numbers?

What do you think many NJ online gamblers are doing while waiting to see if that parlay or live bet ticket is a winner?

At least during the 2020 NFL season, there was a trend of NJ online casino revenue numbers going up as sports betting handle increased. Here are some recent examples:

  • March 2021: all-time record of $113.7 million for online casino/$859.6 million for sports betting
  • January 2021: $103.7 million for online casino/$958.7 million for sports betting
  • December 2020: $99.4 million for online casino/$996.3 million for sports betting
  • February 2021: $93.8 million for online casino/$743 million for sports betting

Now factor in NJ online casinos producing $100-million plus in revenue in five of the first six months of 2021, and we may very well be looking at even more impressive numbers later this year.

Who knows, maybe the first $120-million month in NJ online casino history is suddenly a reality?

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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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