New Jersey Online Gambling Shows Solid Growth in February Despite Unfavorable Conditions

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The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement released revenue numbers for online gambling in February today.

The market gained roughly 9% despite the shorter month. A significant drop in poker revenue was offset by gains in casino products. The market’s performance was generally in line with expectations.

February headline numbers for NJ online gambling

Total revenue: $10.3 million, up 8.9% from January.

Totals by operator with change from January in parentheses:

  • Borgata (includes Borgata and Party): $4,085,444 (+5%)
  • Caesars (includes, AAPN, 888 and Caesars properties): $3,335,470 (+9%)
  • Golden Nugget: $460,121 (+62%)
  • Tropicana (includes Trop and Virgin): $1,345,138 (+62%)
  • Trump Plaza (Betfair): $493,590 (-12%)
  • Trump Taj (Ultimate):  $587,323 (-46%)

Total by product:

  • Poker: $3.1mm (-10%)
  • Casino: $7.2mm (+20%)

These are absolute numbers and do not reflect the shorter month. Daily average for February was $367,857 vs $305,195 for January.

Full details and complete reports can be viewed at the DGE website.

Quick takeaways from the February numbers

  • Poker dropped month-over-month by about 10%. February was 3 days shorter than January.
  • Casino made up the difference and then some, gaining ~20% despite the shorter month.
  • All operators saw a total MoM increase except for Trump Plaza (betfair) and Trump Taj (Ultimate).
  • Tropicana’s numbers were likely bolstered by the launch of Virgin casino brand.

Charts for NJ online gambling revenue to date

Note that DGE reporting is grouped by permit holder, as are the charts below. So, for example, even though 888 and Caesars operate separate brands in New Jersey (AAPN and WSOP, respectively), the revenue for both brands is grouped under Caesars because Caesars is the permit holder.

Total revenue for NJ online gambling operators

NJ online gambling

Poker revenue for NJ online gambling operators

NJ online poker revenue

Where does the NJ market go from here?

There are a few positives that bode well for the months to come:

  • The emergence of alternative payment systems such as Neteller and paysafe card for Skrill should help ease the payment processing pressure.
  • VISA acceptance rates are unlikely to get any worse and could continue to improve as governmental and industry reps continue to focus on outreach to the banking industry.
  • The run-up to the WPT Championship at the Borgata in April should stimulate interest in online poker.
  • Time should generate improvements (albeit potentially incremental ones) in consumer awareness and geolocation technology.

But the NJ market is also facing some hurdles in the near-term:

  • Seasonal factors will make growth more difficult as the weather improves and online activity declines.
  • The novelty factor responsible for driving some of the initial interest and media attention will continue to diminish in power.
  • The market now faces the dual challenge of attracting new players while retaining existing ones.
  • Player complaints (primarily regarding geolocation) could reach a critical mass that dissuades new customers from participating.
  • Continuing issues with payment processing and geolocation could lead casinos to hold back on marketing efforts.

Get more NJ online poker news from OPR.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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