The latest monthly revenue report issued by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement was jam-packed with positive news. There were NJ sports betting revenue numbers, a record-setting month for online gambling, and the first full month for Atlantic City’s two new casino properties.
But the most noteworthy statistic was the top-line number: total gaming revenue.
The state’s gaming industry (which comprises nine land-based Atlantic City casinos, online gambling, and sports betting) posted its first $300 million July since 2010.
And it took all three verticals to get to $300 million:
- Land-based casino revenue: $272.3 million (+10.1 percent Y/Y)
- Online gambling revenue: $25.9 million (+25.8 percent Y/Y)
- Sports betting revenue: $3.8 million (no comp)
- Total revenue: $302.1 million (+12.8 percent Y/Y)
That type of diversity wasn’t the case in July 2010, when Atlantic City’s 11 land-based casinos accounted for every dime of the $323,497,917 of gaming revenue it generated.
That number dropped to $298,209,251 in July 2011, and continued to drop, all the way down to $244,971,188 in July 2015, before it began rebounding.
Add in NJ online gambling revenue and sports betting revenue, and the uptick for land-based bodes well for the New Jersey gambling industry.
What a difference eight years makes
The Atlantic City casino industry has gone through a number of changes since its last $300 million July.
Atlantic City boasted 11 casinos in July 2010:
- AC Hilton
- Bally’s AC
- Harrah’s Marina
- Trump Marina
- Trump Plaza
- Trump Taj Mahal
The current list of operational AC casinos stands at nine, and barely resembles the casino docket from July 2010:
- Bally’s AC
- Caesars AC
- Golden Nugget
- Harrah’s AC
- Hard Rock Atlantic City
- Ocean Resort Casino
So what happened?
Six of the 11 casinos from July 2010 are still open and operating under the same name.
- Bally’s AC
- Harrah’s AC
Two other casinos are still open but have changed hands in the ensuing years:
- Trump Marina Golden Nugget
- Trump Taj Mahal Hard Rock AC
Three other casinos have closed their doors:
- Showboat closed, but reopened as a hotel-only property
- AC Hilton Atlantic Club closed
- Trump Plaza closed
If that wasn’t confusing enough, a 12th casino, Revel, opened in 2012, closed in 2014, and reopened in 2018 as Ocean Resort.
Online gaming an increasingly bigger piece of a bigger pie
The NJ online gambling industry sprang into being in November 2013, and after a slow start, the industry has turned into a major source of revenue for Atlantic City’s casinos.
Online gambling accounts for more than 10 percent of total casino revenue in 2018. More importantly, online gambling hasn’t hurt land-based revenues, in fact, the two are growing side-by-side.
And as the chart below shows, two casinos, Golden Nugget and Resorts, are heavily reliant on NJ online casino revenue.
The era of sports betting
Like online gambling, NJ sports betting bolstered the bottom line of New Jersey’s gaming industry in July.
With only a handful of retail locations available (and most just temporary sportsbooks that were slapped together), sports betting generated a modest $3.8 million in July. But without that $3.8 million, New Jersey wouldn’t have eclipsed $300 million.
However, that number will increase substantially in the coming months. Based on Nevada, the increase could be as much as 10-fold over July’s tally.
- More casinos and racetracks have, or plan to, open retail locations.
- DraftKings Sportsbook, SugarHouse Sportsbook, and playMGM sports betting app launched in August, with more launches planned in the coming weeks and months.
- A more favorable part of the sports betting calendar approaches (NFL season).
Expect a lot of positive news coming out of New Jersey on the gambling revenue front in the coming months.
The two new casinos look to be growing the market; online gambling growth is showing no signs of slowing down; and sports betting is just getting its feet wet in New Jersey.