5 Reasons Why NJ Online Casinos Continue Banking On First $1 Billion Year

Written By Bill Gelman on September 21, 2021 - Last Updated on April 10, 2024
NJ online casino revenue Aug. 2021

August numbers are out and the NJ online casino revenue streak of $100-million performances remains intact. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released the latest figures last week, and August’s online gambling total came in at $113.2 million, good enough for the No. 3 spot on the all-time chart (more on this below).

This makes it seven out of eight months in which the NJ online casino industry has reported monthly revenue of $103.7 million or better. Add in three new all-time marks and 2021 literally continues to be a year for the record books.

To put the most recent performance into perspective, August 2020 online casino revenue came in at $87.8 million (another short-lived record). That’s a 29% year of year increase.

The bigger deal here is it’s pretty much a guarantee that the Garden State will exceed $1 billion in online casino revenue before winter arrives, very possibly as early as October. With that being said, here is a close look at five reasons why this is a year NJ online casinos will remember for a long time to come.

1) What happened to $90-million months?

Before the DGE releases the monthly NJ online casino revenue reports, some like playing the guess the number game. There was a time not that long ago when predictions in the $80- to $90-million range seemed right on target. And at the time, a very big deal.

That scenario has unfolded just once so far this year when the February total came in at only $93.8 million. Keep in mind February is two to three days shorter than the other 12 months of the year. Who knows if the industry will ever see a number that low again.

Think about it. Since those figures were releases, NJ online casinos have set two more all-time records. The first was in March with $113.7 million.  The mark only stood until July when the industry reported $118.7 million. Then there is the August total of $113.2 million. The other months have ranged between $103 and $108 million.

And with September being the start of NFL betting season, don’t be surprised if one or two more records fall over these next few months. Remember, the NJ sports betting industry is likely going to hit $1 billion in monthly handle possibly as early as this month. Many of those same bettors enjoy playing blackjack, craps, poker, and slots at their online casino of choice while waiting for those bets to settle.

Plus operators will do cross-selling in which players can earn free bets and casino credits amounting to a win-win across the board.

As far as another $90-million month of NJ online casino revenue coming again this year, don’t bet on it. The bigger question is how much higher will the bar be raised before the industry reaches its plateau?

The idea of NJ online casinos earning $120 to $125 million in one month no longer sounds as crazy as it once did.

LicenseeTotal RevenueSlots & TablesPokerTaxes
Bally's Atlantic City$46,376$46,376$ -$6,956
Caesars Atlantic City$9,893,194$8,928,376$964,818$1,485,863
Golden Nugget Atlantic City$29,782,341$29,782,341$ -$4,466,006
Hard Rock Atlantic City$6,026,051$6,026,051$ -$903,983
Ocean$1,579,051$1,579,051$ -$236,888
Resorts Atlantic City$21,622,865$20,944,382$678,483$3,243,430
Tropicana Atlantic City$6,988,082$6,988,082$ -$1,048,213

2) BetMGM/Borgata still setting records

The performance of the BetMGM online casino (along with sister brands Borgata and Party that also fall under the BetMGM corporate umbrella) remains a major reason behind the 2021 success story.

Borgata, which includes all the brands operating under its license, reported $37.3 million revenue for August. Mark it down as a new all-time NJ record for any online casino license holder. This slightly tops the previous best of $35.7 million set in July. But this $30-million-a-month trend is becoming routine as January and February ($28.7 million and $24.9 million, respectively) are the only two months this year Borgata did not earn over $30 million in NJ online casino revenue.

As a result, Borgata’s Internet gambling earnings are up 129.3% through the first eight months of the year ($264.3 million versus $115.2 million).

The pace is unlikely to slow down over the next four months.

3) These days a $29.7-million month falls short of a win, but major milestone approaching

Remember all those months when Golden Nugget online casino along with the other brands operating under the GN license were dominating the market? Well, technically speaking, the license holder is still performing extremely well.

We’re talking to the tune of $29.8 million for August. The result is not as strong as July’s $33.5 million record performance, but still a significant number. Resorts Digital (led by DraftKings Casino and its self-branded app) finished a distant third with $21.6 million.

However, Golden Nugget is closing in on a very significant milestone and is pretty much guaranteed to achieve it once September numbers are official. The license holder will soon be the first to cross the $1 billion mark for all-time NJ online casino revenue. We’re talking about one of the original operators that launched in 2013.

Through August 2021, GN’s all-time tally stands at $998.7 million.

The next closest license holder is Borgata with $793.6 million.

So far for 2021, GNOG, which also includes the FanDuelPlaySugarHouseStardustBetAmerica, and recently added Betway brands, has earned $245.3 million.

Here is a closer look at the all-time totals:

LicenseeTotal RevenueSlots & TablesPokerTaxes
Bally's Atlantic City$169,444,255$169,444,255$0$25,419,635
Caesars Atlantic City$682,556,436$574,188,410$108,466,060$102,115,348
Golden Nugget Atlantic City$2,364,691,991$2,364,112,861$124$353,206,075
Hard Rock Atlantic City$355,387,467$355,387,467$0$53,216,283
Harrah's Atlantic City$5,240,890$5,240,890$0$786,134
Resorts Atlantic City$1,870,479,678$1,791,447,455$77,478,759$279,394,559
Tropicana Atlantic City$626,099,634$624,959,166$1,140,468$93,890,221
Trump Taj Mahal$6,032,943$5,470,434$562,509$916,330

4) NJ online casino market still expanding

For those thinking the NJ online market is at capacity, guess again. Even with big names like BetMGM and Golden Nugget claiming large chunks of market share, there is still room for additional operators.

Each license holder is permitted up to five online casino partners. GNOG and Resorts Digital each recently filled their respective final slots last month.

Betway is now live via the Golden Nugget license. And there is Barstool Casino, which gained marked access via Resorts. Barstool Sportsbook, however, falls under the Freehold Raceway license.

Believe it or not, others are still to come. Remember Bally’s Atlantic City is just getting its feet wet with the NJ online casino industry. PointsBet Casino is the only brand currently operating under its license. For August, it amounts to a  grand total of $46,376.

Bally Bet is expected by Q4. Expect a timing update once Bally’s Corporation completes its $3.4 billion acquisition of Gamesys, a London-based online software development and gaming company.

5)  2021 reality: $1 billion in NJ online casino revenue remains on target

When combining all of these results together, the table is set for the inevitable big news. At some point soon, very likely when October numbers are released, the Garden State will exceed $1 billion in revenue. We’re talking just Internet gaming. Not NJ sports betting revenue or Atlantic City land-based earnings.

The current year-to-date total stands at $866.1 million. And that number is up almost 45% from the same period in 2020.

Yes, it will be another industry first. And talk about perfect timing. October numbers are scheduled to be released on Nov. 17. The industry’s eighth anniversary follows four days later.

No matter when the billion-mark is reached, New Jersey continues to reap the rewards. Out of the over $3.3 billion earned so far, the state tax portion amounts to more than $501 million.

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Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman has been reporting on the NJ gambling market since 2018, right around when the Garden State launched sports betting. Bill transitioned from lead writer for PlayNJ and NJ Gambling Sites to his current role as managing editor in 2020. Besides offering in-depth analysis on NJ gambling market trends and news, Bill regularly sits down with Atlantic City casino industry executives to offer readers exclusive interviews and comprehensive coverage. Bill received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College. He has contributed to other Catena Media sites including The Lines, Legal Sports Report, PlayPennsylvania and PlayCanada.

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