Since its entry into the New Jersey online gambling arena in February 2015, Resorts Casino Hotel has been punching well above its weight.
And Resorts is doing even better on the sports betting front. Only FanDuel Sportsbook at Meadowlands Racetrack (aided by its proximity to New York City) had a greater market share than Resorts in December.
As such, it’s safe to say that Resorts has become reliant on online gambling revenues.
The key to Resorts online successes
The combination of online casino, online poker, and online sports betting accounted for more than 43 percent of resorts total gaming revenue in December.
As one of the smaller casinos in Atlantic City, Resorts has relied on a combination of innovation and calculated risk to compete in the extremely saturated NJ online gambling and sports betting markets.
- Resorts is the first and only casino to launch an iGaming Lounge, which it uses as an on-property marketing and acquisition tool.
- Resorts was also an early adopter of virtual sports, and the only casino to introduce FastPick, a DFS-hybrid product.
- Resorts has also found a way to overcome a middling brand through strategic partnerships with some of the biggest names in the industry, including PokerStars and DraftKings.
Overseeing it all is Ed Andrewes.
Andrewes heads up Resorts Digital, as well as the casino’s sports betting operations, and recently spoke to Play NJ at the recently concluded ICE Totally Gaming event about the current state of US online gambling, and where it’s headed.
Sports betting’s impact on existing products
NJ online casino revenue has been going through a significant growth spurt since the introduction of online sports betting.
Since August, online casino revenue growth has been up significantly in five of the six months.
That’s an impressive amount of growth for a five-year-old industry, and the surge is an indication of cross-selling between sports bettors and NJ online casino customers.
Andrewes firmly believes sports betting will act as a catalyst for existing products like virtual sports and live dealer.
“Early signs show there is a very strong crossover particularly with sports customers playing on table games,” Andrewes told Play NJ.
Renewed interest in the iGaming Lounge
With sports betting creating new interest in other online gambling products, it should come as no surprise that Resorts has reinstituted its iGaming Lounge.
In May 2018, Andrewes told Online Poker Report the lounge acts “as an excellent training ground for inexperienced online players and had provided almost 25,000 registrations for the online service.”
The dedicated online gambling space located just off the main casino floor was briefly shuttered to make way for the temporary DraftKings retail sportsbook. With the sportsbook now in its permanent home, the iGaming Lounge returned with a significant enhancement.
The revamped iGaming Lounge now facilitates cash deposits and withdrawals via a dedicated cashier.
Andrewes explained that even though online payment processing is up to a 90 percent acceptance rate, offering customers the convenience of depositing and withdrawing money (and being able to use cash) without leaving the lounge is a positive development.
Sports betting’s potential for growth
New Jersey sports betting is still in its growth phase, and handle and revenue are expected to keep growing as:
- Consumer awareness continues to grow.
- More sportsbook and sports betting options appear in the market.
- More people start shifting their spend from the black market to the legal market.
In addition, Andrewes believes sports betting will continue to grow as customers become better acclimated to betting on sports beyond football and the other major US sports. Sports that are suited to in-play betting and popular in other markets, such as tennis, have not been widely available to US bettors before regulation.
“Sports with a natural start/stop build intensity and allow customers time to place wagers,” Andrewes said.
Andrewes also expects sports betting to get a shot in the arm when some of the more sophisticated products available in Europe — cash out and bet builders — become established in the US.
Andrewes explained that once US regulators grow comfortable with these “tried and tested products in Europe,” they’ll be a positive addition to US sportsbooks.