Second verse, same as the first.
It might be a new year, but New Jersey online casinos are up to their same old tricks, busting through ceilings and setting new records.
The Division of Gaming Enforcement released the latest online casino gambling revenue last week, and 2020 looks to be another banner year for Atlantic City casinos.
In January 2019, after sitting in the $20 million range for two years, New Jersey online casino revenue hit the $30 million mark. It hasn’t looked back since.
This January, NJ online casinos earned well over $50 million for the first time. In fact, online casinos and online poker brought in a total of $55.1 million, a 63.9% increase when compared to last January.
You can’t tout online casino growth without recognizing the part that online sports betting plays in it. Online sports betting in New Jersey earned an additional $46.7 million for AC casinos in January, but more importantly, it is bringing new customers to the online casino side of things.
And even though sports betting is what everyone wants to talk about, the good news is online casinos will continue to benefit as long as they do.
January 2020 NJ online casino highlights
- January marked 20 straight months of revenue increases for online casinos in NJ.
- Golden Nugget earned $21.2 million, its first-ever month of more than $20 million in revenue.
- Ocean Casino Resort posted a triple-digit month over month increase (417%) for its online casino, and its casino recorded its seventh consecutive month of profitability.
- While Borgata sits firmly in third place in terms of revenue ($10,372,524), it has the largest combined online casino and poker year-over-year increase of 118.7%.
NJ online casinos by the numbers
Revenue / ∆ Month Over Month / ∆ Year Over Year:
- Online casinos: $53.3 million / +11.9% / +67.9%
- Online poker: $1.8 million / +5.6% / -2.7%
- Total: $55.1 million / +11.7% / +63.9%
New Jersey online casino winners
You cannot have the words casino and winner in a sentence without Golden Nugget. After posting a rare month-over-month decline in December, Golden Nugget bounced back with a huge number ($21.2 million).
It beat its December revenue by nearly $4 million. To put that in perspective, it increased its revenue by around the same amount four online casinos earned for the whole month. What is even more impressive is that Golden Nugget’s online revenue beat its brick-and-mortar casino by over $5 million.
Besides Golden Nugget, two other casinos posted double-digit month-over-month and year-over-year increases:
- Borgata Casino
- Hard Rock Casino
Borgata has been in the No. 3 spot for a full year behind Resorts Casino, but it has been gaining ground of late. It earned $10.4 million, good for a 12.3% month-over-month and a massive 118.7% year-over-year increase. Additionally, its market share is on the rise, growing by 4% since this time last year.
Golden Nugget and Borgata are often talked about in revenue articles. The casino making the most news this month, however, is Hard Rock.
Earlier in the month, Hard Rock unveiled live slots from its brand-new live slots studio. It is the first time an online casino has a live slot offering in its portfolio. And not just in New Jersey, either, but in the entire world.
It is exactly this kind of innovation that propelled Golden Nugget to the head of the class a while back when it launched the first live dealer games in New Jersey. Can live slots do the same for Hard Rock?
Only time will tell, but it definitely has a lot of work to do; while it did post monthly (22.6%) and yearly (74.1%) growth, its monthly revenue of $2.5 million comes in at the bottom of the list.
And finally, we have Tropicana. Tropicana posted a respectable $4.4 million, which was enough to put it ahead of Caesars for the first time since August 2018.
New Jersey online casino losers
It is hard to think of the second-highest earning casino as a loser, and in reality, it isn’t. However, Resorts ($11.9 million) was one of two casinos that posted a month-over-month decline. Granted, the number was small (-0.3%), but any decline in a hot market catches our attention.
Then there is Caesars, the only casino to show a year-over-year and month-over-month decline. Granted, it still earned $4.2 million, which is nothing to sneeze at.
While the industry continues to revel in records, Caesars is losing market share, though, doing so every month in 2019 except one. That one month was June, and the gain in market share can be attributed to the running of World Series of Poker online bracelet events.
Unfortunately, the trend continues in the new year. For instance, in January 2019 it had 13.6% of the market; now it has just 7.6%.
As other casinos are innovating and fighting for the market, Caesars is going to have to step up its game if it wants to hold on to the market share it has. Of course, everything is set to change when its deal with Eldorado resorts closes sometime this year. How it will change remains to be seen.
Ocean Casino makes the list because its numbers are telling two different stories. It posted a triple-digit month-over-month increase in online casino revenue, but it is flat when compared with the same period last year.
It touts seven straight months of profitability, but its online casino only earned $531,343 for the month of January. That is just 20% of what its closest competitor and other new kid on the Boardwalk, Hard Rock, earned ($2.5 million).
Of course, it is always a good thing when a company is profitable. However, there must be some serious internal discussions happening considering its year-over-year growth is measured in fractions compared to a nearly 64% growth rate for the industry.
January 2020 online casino revenue by operator
|Operator||Poker Revenue||Casino Revenue||Total Gaming Win||Taxes Paid|
|Borgata / Party / BetMGM||$478,893||$9,893,631||$10,372,524||$1,560,173|
|Caesars / Harrah's / 888||$718,307||$3,519,456||$4,237,763||$636,112|
|Golden Nugget / Betfair / BetAmerica / SugarHouse||$-||$21,204,985||$21,204,985||$3,181,145|
|Hard Rock / Unibet / Bet365||$-||$2,463,007||$2,463,007||$369,451|
|Ocean Casino / Parx Casino||$-||$531,343||$531,343||$79,745|
|Resorts AC / DraftKings / PokerStars||$635,011||$11,281,183||$11,916,194||$1,787,429|
|Tropicana / Virgin||$-||$4,360,774||$4,360,774||$654,116|
Atlantic City casinos also doing their thing
The total win for Atlantic City’s nine casinos is $192 million, and the industry grew by 8.3% when compared to January 2019. Much of that growth went to Hard Rock and Ocean Casino.
Continuing on its winning streak, Hard Rock brought in $21.5 million and posted a 38% year-over-year increase, the largest of the nine casinos.
It is definitely Ocean Casino’s retail casino that is keeping it profitable. It earned $16.9 million, good for a 36.2% percent increase when compared to last year.
And let us not forget Borgata. Borgata may be in the third spot online, but it is the king of the Boardwalk. It earned $54.7 million in January, nearly as much as all of the online casino revenues combined. That figure is good for an 8.5% increase compared to the same month last year.
Four brick-and-mortar casinos posted earnings resulting in negative growth for the month:
- Caesars ($17.0 million, -0.5%)
- Bally’s ($10.7 million, -11.6%)
- Tropicana (20.3 million, -2.7%)
- Resorts ($12.3 million, -2.6%)
And then there is Harrah’s and Golden Nugget. Harrah’s earned $23.6 million, a 9.5% increase over last year. Golden Nugget earned $15 million and grew its revenue by 2.9% over the previous January.
No doubt the growth of Hard Rock and Ocean Casino will continue to fuel the debate around whether Atlantic City needs a tenth casino.
Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, told the Press of Atlantic City that people are continuing to look to Atlantic City for “an experience-based getaway.”
“January saw promising increases in gaming revenue over last year and continues to build on the positive trends within brick-and-mortar and the online arena.”
In the end, it says something that customers are flocking to the new casinos, and the other casinos should be listening. On the whole, the only takeaway that matters is Atlantic City casinos are growing and thriving.
Looking ahead to February’s online casino revenue report
When we meet back here next month, we will be looking closely at Hard Rock’s online casino revenue and Resorts’ poker revenue.
As mentioned above, Hard Rock unveiled the first live slots available on its online casino app. We will be watching to see if customers are attracted to the shiny new thing.
Additionally, we’ll be keeping our eyes on PokerStars. PokerStars operates under the Resort license in New Jersey and launched online poker in Pennsylvania last fall.
It just announced a new poker tournament, the Bounty Builder Series that will run simultaneously in NJ and PA, from Feb. 20 to March 1.
Instead of allowing players in the neighboring states to play both by scheduling the tournaments at different times, PokerStars is forcing poker players to pick a side of the border.
Considering PA has higher guarantees and a more active cash game scene, it is likely PA will benefit from the scenario.
We will learn which side players choose and much more in next month’s revenue report.