Golden Nugget leads NJ online casino industry by wide margin

NJ Surpasses $100 Million In Tax Revenue From Online Gambling After Another Huge Month

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New Jersey releases the gross revenue numbers for its regulated online poker sites and NJ’s online casinos each month, generally about two weeks after the close of the month.

May 2017 highlights

  • $100 million in tax revenue. The state of New Jersey remains the biggest winner since the legalization of online gambling in 2013. Revenue generated in May pushed New Jersey to $101.25 million in total tax receipts since launch. That’s a win for the state no matter how you slice it.
  • $20 million-plus is the new normal. The NJ online casino industry has generated $20 million in each of the past three months. May — with $21.1 million in revenue across casino and poker — was the second biggest month in terms of revenue ever. April clocked in at $20.8 million, after March saw a record $21.7 million in revenue. It would now be considered a disappointment if the industry started dipping below $20 million again.
  • Borgata comes in last. Borgata was the early leader in the NJ online casino industry. But its transition from worst to first was completed in May. Excluding poker revenue, Borgata came in last place in online casino revenue ($2.9 million) and overall revenue ($3.5 million) behind the networks of the other four licensees in NJ. The launch of an MGM-branded online casino later this year could help stop the bleeding.
  • No one can stop Golden Nugget. While Borgata remains in freefall, Golden Nugget remains well clear of the rest of the field. With $5.9 million in revenue in May, its closest competitor (Tropicana) was nearly $2 million behind.

Top line numbers

Notes: There was one more day in May 2017 than April 2017. April had ten weekend days, while May had eight; May of last year also had eight. The comparisons below are adjusted to account for one fewer day in April.

Revenue / month-over-month change (adj) / year-over-year change (adj)

  • Overall: $21.1 million / -2.1% / +27.3%
  • Casino: $19 million / -2.7% / +35.6%
  • Poker: $2.1 million / +4.2% / -17.5%

Poker had a decent month, by its standards, but saw a modest four percent gain from April, adjusted for the extra day. The extra revenue is a result of a tournament series at PokerStars. But the year-over-year numbers are a reminder of when some believed brighter days might be ahead for NJ online poker. In May of last year, PokerStars was still very new to New Jersey, and it had succeeded in briefly expanding the online poker market in the state. Those days are long gone. For June, we’ll look for any impact from Pala Poker, a new site and network available to players in NJ.

Casino might not have had as good of a month as it did in March and April, but year-over-year growth continues unabated for now. Online gambling took in just shy of $19 million in May. Last May, that figure was almost $5 million less. While that kind of market expansion isn’t likely to keep up, online casino operators have to be encouraged to see the market continue to post big numbers on a YoY basis, several years in.

Overall, online casino continues to be a juggernaut and poker more or less treads water. It would be nice if rising tides lifted all boats, but it appears poker is not along for the ride alongside casino games.

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Winners and losers

In alphabetical order, by IGP holder:

  • Borgata (BorgataParty, Pala) If it weren’t for poker, the situation would be even more dire for Borgata’s online operation. Even with poker included, the $3.5 million Borgata generated was good for last place. It trails casino-only operations like GN and Trop. Both poker and casino were down double digits in percentage terms YoY. It can take some solace in the fact that its poker network is slightly ahead of the rooms under the Caesars license.
  • Caesars (888, Caesars, Harrah’s, WSOP) After some bad months of late, Caesars seems to have righted the ship somewhat. Casino ticked up 20 percent YoY; its $3.6 million puts it in third place for the month (for casino only). Poker, however, is a different story, lagging behind the other two networks and down 12 percent from last May.
  • Golden Nugget (Golden Nugget, Betfair, SugarHouse) Golden Nugget almost hit $6 million in a month again after accomplishing the feat in March. The growth trend for GN is undeniable: 85 percent YoY. The six percent gain month over month was the only casino to see any increase, outside of Caesars.
  • Resorts AC (Resorts, Mohegan Sun, PokerStars NJ) Resorts is also keeping pace with GN in terms of growth, up 65 percent from a year ago. PokerStars’ Spring Championship of Online Poker helped it tick up from April by six figures and took marketshare away from its competitors. With poker included, Resorts is in a virtual dead heat with Tropicana.
  • Tropicana (Tropicana, Virgin) Tropicana is not growing at quite the same pace as the last two online casinos, but it is sitting on about the average growth rate for the entire market — 27 percent. At $4 million, its the second biggest revenue-producer for casino only.

Detailed numbers by operator / product (comparisons normalized for extra day in May vs. April):


 May (2017)April 2017, normalized to 31 daysDifference month over month (NORMALIZED)May 2016Difference year over year
Borgata poker$613,039$617,490-0.72%$731,863-16.24%
Borgata casino$2,883,485$3,736,056-22.82%$3,215,248-10.32%
Borgata overall$3,496,524$4,353,546-19.69%$3,947,111-11.42%
Caesars poker$543,932$596,407-8.80%$687,287-20.86%
Caesars casino$3,097,413$3,037,2981.98%$2,568,61720.59%
Caesars overall$3,641,345$3,633,7050.21%$3,255,90411.84%
Golden Nugget casino$5,915,167$5,557,2086.44%$3,200,06784.85%
Resorts poker$962,914$820,09317.42%$1,151,703-16.39%
Resorts casino$3,045,552$3,081,123-1.15%$1,843,85565.17%
Resorts overall$4,008,466$3,901,2162.75%$2,995,55833.81%
Trop casino$4,009,746$4,070,419-1.49%$3,147,51827.39%
Total poker$2,119,885$2,033,9904.22%$2,570,853-17.54%
Total casino$18,951,363$19,482,104-2.72%$13,975,30535.61%
Total overall$21,071,248$21,516,094-2.07%$16,546,15827.35%
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.
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