NJ Online Gambling Revenue Still Going Strong, But Big Changes Are On The Horizon

A trend is in place, and it continues to ramp upward for New Jersey gambling sites.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released its online gambling revenue figures for April, and it appears the industry is in the midst of recording its greatest hits.

Down from March, but still strong

Online gambling in April eclipsed $23 million, which is a far cry from the $25.6 million the industry enjoyed in March.

That, however, speaks not to a down month but more to the Goliath nature of March, which stands as the best month ever in the five-year history of NJ gambling sites.

April’s total online gaming revenue is a 10.6 percent increase from the previous year. To boot, the $23 million-plus earned is the second-best month in the industry’s history. Year-to-date revenue increased to $92.55 million, reflecting a 15.5 percent spike.

So despite the 10 percent decrease month over month, NJ online gambling is still going strong.

Highlights of April’s NJ online gambling revenue

And speaking of going strong, Golden Nugget continues to reign supreme in New Jersey.

For the second straight month, the casino and its sister sites Betfair (now FanDuel) and PlaySugarhouse exceeded $8 million. Golden Nugget accounted for $8,133,024 in April, a jaw-dropping 51.2 percent increase year over year. On top of that, Golden Nugget NJ was the market-leading license holder for the 20th straight month.

The only other casino to enjoy a year-over-year increase was Borgata, which pulled in $4,591,300 for a 9 percent bump. It’s holding its own in the No. 2 spot.

The state of online poker has not been one to boast about. Down 10.5 percent year over year, online poker posted just $1.76 million in April.

On the flip side, online casino revenue raked in more than $21 million to mark the fourth straight month of topping $20 million.

Still, there are plenty of changes afoot for NJ gambling sites in 2018, not the least of which is the legalization of sports betting.

Interstate online poker is in play

Interstate poker — a liquidity sharing agreement among Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey — launched May 1. While the impact of that debut will not be seen until next month’s revenue report, there have already been signs of a renaissance.

Run through the WSOP and 888 Poker NJ family of sites, players from all three states sit alongside each other at virtual tables for cash games. The liquidity sharing agreement guarantees larger prize pools and better game selections. And players eager to get a taste.

According to PokerScout.com, WSOP NJ and 888 Poker NJ had a seven-day rolling average of 70 to 80 cash game players in the weeks leading up to interstate online poker. Traffic continued to increase, reaching more than 200 players rolling average on May 6.

Visitation is expected to peak at more than 500 players once interstate poker gains its footing and after WSOP and 888 hike up their marketing and promotional strategies. The result of all this is that NJ online poker may not be in the doldrums for long.

Golden Nugget vs. Borgata: Who will win?

Something else to keep an eye on is Borgata potentially creeping up on Golden Nugget in terms of market dominance.

Live dealer games have been a staple at Golden Nugget for nearly two years. The casino has ridden those blackjack, roulette, baccarat and casino poker games to a market dominance that no competitor can realize.

Recently, however, Borgata got into the action, soft-launching live dealer games at its online casino as well as at playMGM and PartyCasino NJ.

Time will tell how that section of online gambling will affect Borgata’s online gambling revenue. But with that piece and its current status in the NJ online gambling market, it appears to be the only casino that could close the gap on Golden Nugget.

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And then there’s legal NJ sports betting

For the entirety of the NJ iGaming market, what happened Monday in the NJ sports betting case could be a huge game changer.

That is when the biggest news of the gambling world came down: The US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). That decision clears the path for sports betting in NJ and elsewhere as states move to legalize it one by one.

Already, the gambling world is moving fast to get all its ducks in a row. While Atlantic City casinos and their respective online casinos have to wait for the NJ Legislature to finalize regulations, each one has been preparing for this day for months if not years.

How the regulations will fit in with the online gambling market remains to be seen. But it’s safe to say there’s enough good news happening in 2018 to have everyone excited.

Image credit: Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com

About the Author

Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sportswriter who has covered the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield, and Oregon State athletics and the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career.