Online gambling and sports wagering reached almost record levels over the past month in New Jersey. Additionally, the money that almost half of the Atlantic City casinos earned from in-person players is bigger than what they earned during September 2019, prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concerns don’t subside:
While the figures unveiled by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement on October 16 are very good, they are still aren’t enough to assuage the seaside resort’s underlying concern that regular player income has not yet come to the levels it was at 5 out of 9 casinos before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
However, in terms of current numbers, the sum of money jointly won from in-person players was bigger this September, at $246 million, than in September 2019, which was $224 million. Also, 4 out of 9 casinos (Hard Rock, Caesars, Resorts and Ocean) unveiled bigger in-person earnings in September 2023 compared to September 2019, prior to the onset of COVID-19. This seems to be a small progress over the habitual 2 or sometimes 3 casinos that surpass that level during the majority of months.
The aforementioned casino income has been negatively affected by a cyber attack on few casino firms that have facilities in the state, according to the chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, James Plousis. Nevertheless, he emphasized that it is “still the third-highest September result since 2012.”
The industry is still struggling:
All of this displays that the industry is still having difficulty recovering lost revenue, even after a long time, aka over 3 years, after the start of the pandemic and the terminations and disturbance it caused.
In this regard, the director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at New Jersey’s Stockton University, Jane Bokunewicz, who researches the gambling industry in Atlantic City, commented according to the Associated Press: “In the years since the pandemic, a lot more has changed than an individual’s willingness to come out and gamble in public. Beyond the direct impact of the pandemic itself, casinos were faced with other challenges like inflation, gas prices, changes in consumer behavior and the expansion of new gaming products.” Additionally, she added: “Despite those challenges, brick-and-mortar gambling has still shown growth year over year, and it continues to dominate the revenue share of Atlantic City casinos.”
When it comes which industry category generated the most income over the past month, sports wagering and online gambling, horse tracks that accept sports wagers and casinos and their online allies generated more than $521 million from punters, representing growth of 7.5% compared to 2022. On a related note, casino officials said: “Those figures are misleading because online and sports betting money — as much as 70% of it — must be shared with other parties including tech platforms and sports books, and is not solely for the casinos to keep.”
As for the in-person income, Hard Rock earned $46.8 million, an increase of 7.3%; the Borgata earned $54.2 million, a decrease of almost 13% compared to 2022; Ocean earned $39.5 million, an increase of more than 29% and Harrah’s earned $22.2 million, a decrease of 4.3%. Also, Tropicana earned $21.4 million, a decrease of 8.2%, Caesars earned just below $21.4 million, a decrease of 4.5%; Resorts earned $14.9 million, a decrease of 10.7%; Bally’s earned $13.1 million, a decrease of 17.3% and the Golden Nugget earned $12.6 million, a decrease of 6.1%.
Next, there is sports wagering and online in-person gambling, with Borgata earning $107.4 million, a decrease of 5.4% compared to 2022, Hard Rock earning $58.1 million, an increase of 13.6%, Golden Nugget earning $57.9 million, an increase of nearly 21%, Ocean earning $44.6 million, an increase of more than 33%, Tropicana earning $33.7 million, a decrease of 22.6%, Harrah’s earning $22.5 million, a decrease of 2.6%, Caesars earning $21.3 million, a decrease of 10.7%, Bally’s earning $20.2 million, a decrease of 1.3% and Resorts earning almost $15 million, a decrease of 11.6%.
Furthermore, racetracks and casinos collected just below $1.3 billion worth in sports wagering, almost reaching the highest level since 2018, which was the time when sports wagering was officially legalized in New Jersey. Of that profit, nearly $11 million was retained as income after paying out winning wagers and other costs. Relatedly, during the first 9 months of 2023, over $7.7 billion worth of sports wagers were collected by the aforementioned tracks and casinos.
Online gambling generated almost $164 million, an increase of 21% compared to 2022 and is a little less of the new record of $165.7 million collected during March 2023. In addition, among iGaming operators, Resorts Digital earned $45.4 million, an increase of almost 33% and Caesars Interactive Entertainment NJ earned $5.6 million, a decrease of 38%.