New Jersey Online Casinos End 2018 With A Record-Setting Celebration

Posted on January 17, 2019 - Last Updated on January 21, 2019

NJ online casinos put an exclamation point on 2018, as they closed out the year with another record-setting month.

The December 2018 numbers released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) on Monday showed a combined haul from NJ online poker and casino games of $29 million. That bested November’s record by more than $2 million.

NJ online sports betting added another $14.7 million to that tally, giving online gambling a combined haul of $43.7 million.

More records fall

December also saw two operators, Borgata and Golden Nugget, set personal records.

Borgata surpassed $5 million for the month, just the second online casino operator to achieve that milestone.

And Golden Nugget continued to do Golden Nugget things, besting its mark with a record-setting $10 million in December.

The keyword is growth

The $29 million month left the New Jersey online gambling industry just shy of $300 million in 2018.

As the chart below shows, the industry has grown substantially since its inception.

Top line numbers

Here are the top line numbers from the New Jersey DGE’s latest monthly revenue reports.

December 2018 revenue by vertical:

  • Casino revenue (online): $27,243,703 (record)
  • Poker revenue (online): $1,764,562
  • Sports betting revenue (online): $14,650,636 (record)

December 2018 revenue totals:

  • Gambling revenue (online): $29,008,265 (record)
  • Gambling revenue with sports (online): $43,658,901 (record)

Online casinos key takeaway

Sports betting has been a boon for New Jersey’s tracks and casinos, as well as FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. But you can also count online casinos among the sports betting beneficiaries.

New Jersey’s online casinos have been on a tear since online sports betting launched in August 2018, culminating with a 45 percent increase in December.

The likely reason is cross-selling.

Sports betting has brought a whole new group of gamblers into the legally regulated market, and operators have done a good job marketing their other products (online casino games) to these players.

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Online poker key takeaway

Revenue for online poker was down 9 percent year-over-year in December. But considering where poker has been in recent months (around $1.5 million), the $1.8 million it generated in December must feel like a win to operators.

Online sports betting key takeaway

Revenue for online sports betting was relatively flat month-over-month, but that’s actually a sign of growth. December is historically a lower-handle month than November in Nevada.

Because of its high variance, we’re treating online sports betting as a separate entity, and it won’t be included in the analysis below. 

Growth trends

Here’s a look at the year-over-year changes:

  • Poker (online): -8.9 percent
  • Casino (online): +44.8 percent
  • Total revenue: +39.8 percent

As seen in the chart below, the NJ online gaming industry has yet to experience a year-over-year decline in any month (this chart doesn’t include sports betting revenue).

Casino-by-casino analysis

Borgata tops the $5 million mark

  • License holder: Borgata
  • Brands and sub-brands: Borgata, Party, Pala, MGM

After a number of close calls, Borgata finally surpassed the $5 million mark in December.

As noted above, Borgata is only the second casino to reach the milestone. The other, Golden Nugget, has been posting $5+ million months since February 2017.

Golden Nugget goes over $10 million

  • License holder: Golden Nugget
  • Brands and sub-brands: Golden Nugget, Betfair, SugarHouse

Even with Borgata posting a $5 million month, Golden Nugget is still lapping the field.

In true “hold my beer” fashion, Golden Nugget woke up with the industry’s first $10 million month in December and finished 2018 with $104.8 million in total online gambling revenue.

For some perspective, that’s nearly the same amount the entire industry tallied in its first full year back in 2014.

Tropicana is going in the wrong direction

After multiple leadership changes, Tropicana is searching for a new online identity. That’s not a good thing in the highly competitive New Jersey market.

Tropicana was the only online casino that didn’t see year-over-year revenues increase in December. It also fell from the pack that is perpetually chasing Golden Nugget.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Hard Rock online casino overtake Tropicana in 2019 if it doesn’t start to turn things around.

Resorts: A contender for the No. 2 spot

Resorts online casino revenue was up more than 55 percent in December, and if the theory of cross-selling is correct, gains like that could become commonplace.

The casino chose its sports partner wisely, as it’s teamed up with the top revenue-generating online sportsbook in the market: DraftKings. Resorts also has a second sports betting partner in BetStars.

Caesars holds steady

Caesars had its strongest in a recent string of strong months, with total online gaming revenue up nearly 17 percent in December.

That was enough of an increase to hold off Resorts for the No. 3 spot.

Hard Rock’s online casino is for real

  • License holder: Hard Rock
  • Brands and sub-brands: Hard Rock

The month-over-month revenue was relatively flat in December, but Hard Rock appears well positioned to be a major player in the market moving forward.

In just six months, Hard Rock has gone from launch to a market share of nearly 5 percent.

Bottom line: Watch out for Hard Rock online casino in 2019.

Ocean Resort transitioning to new owners

Ocean Resort Casino took a big step backward in December.

After posting more than $700k in online revenue in November, the casino (which is in the process of a sale after just six months) saw online revenue fall back below $500k in December.

A historical look at iGaming revenue in NJ

Be sure to check our New Jersey iGaming revenue page for a detailed breakdown of online gambling revenue in the Garden State.

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Steve Ruddock

Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.

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