Ocean Resort and Hard Rock Atlantic City could grow marketshare or cannibalize existing online casinos

Will NJ’s Online Casino Industry Be Over Capacity With Addition Of Hard Rock, Ocean Resort?

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With two new casinos set to open their doors in the coming months, the Atlantic City casino industry is going to become increasingly competitive this summer.

The main battleground will take place on the casino floors of the city’s nine casinos that line the AC Boardwalk and the Marina District, but the competition will also carry over into the online space.

Both casinos, Hard Rock AC and Ocean Resort Casino, have made their online intentions crystal clear after submitting their online gambling license applications to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

We also know who will be providing the casinos’ online gambling platforms. Ocean Resort inked a deal with GAN, and Hard Rock is teaming up with GIG.

It’s not surprising the two companies want a piece of the pie for NJ online casinos, considering online gambling accounted for around ten percent of all casino revenue by the end of 2017.

The big question: Is there enough room in the online gambling market for at least two more brands? So far, new brands have been additive to the market, but at some point it could become saturated.

What a difference five years makes in NJ

Revenues aren’t the only part of online gambling growing in New Jersey. The number of operators, brands and websites are also on the rise.

When both of the new operators are up and running, New Jersey will have at least two dozen online gambling websites (with 19 unique brands), spread across seven operators.

  • Borgata: BorgataPoker, BorgataCasino, NJ.PartyPoker, PalaCasino, PalaPoker, PalaBingoUSA, ScoresCasino, playMGMcasino, playMGMpoker.
  • Caesars: CaesarsCasino, HarrahsCasino, WSOP, 888Poker, 888Casino
  • Golden Nugget: GoldenNuggetCasino, PlaySugarHouse, BetfairCasino
  • Hard Rock: TBA
  • Ocean Resort Casino: TBA
  • Resorts: ResortsCasino, MoheganSunCasino, PokerStars NJ
  • Tropicana: TropicanaCasino, VirginCasino

The table shows that the number of operators has only increased by one since November 2013. By contrast the number of websites has grown by nearly 40 percent, to 24.

As seen in the table below, the market boasted just 14 in 2013.

  • Borgata: BorgataPoker, BorgataCasino, NJ.PartyPoker
  • Caesars: CaesarsCasino, HarrahsCasino, WSOP, 888Poker, 888Casino
  • Golden Nugget: GoldenNuggetCasino
  • Resorts: ResortsCasino, MoheganSunCasino, PokerStars NJ
  • Tropicana: TropicanaCasino
  • Trump Plaza (defunct): BetfairCasino, BetfairPoker
  • Trump Taj Mahal (defunct): UltimateCasino, UltimatePoker

That discrepancy can be explained by operators being limited to the number of casinos in the industry.

You can get a better sense of the temptation that prospective operators see in New Jersey by looking at the number of new online gambling platform providers and unique brands that have jumped into the market since the industry launched.

The true measure of growth

Soon after the industry launched, there were 14 online gambling sites operating on six different online gaming platforms.

This summer, there will be 11 exclusive gaming platforms in the New Jersey market, an increase of nearly 50 percent.

New Jersey online gambling platform providers

Bwin.party (Borgata)GVC/party (Borgata)
888 (Caesars)888 (Caesars)
Gamesys (Tropicana)Gamesys
Ultimate Gaming (Trump Taj Mahal)GAN (Betfair)
Scientific Games (Golden Nugget)GAN (Ocean Resort)
GAN (Trump Plaza/Betfair)NYX (Resorts)
 NYX (Caesars)
 Rush Street Interactive
 Gaming Innovation Group (Hard Rock)

Along the same lines, the number of unique brands in the New Jersey online gambling market has nearly doubled since launch, increasing from ten to 19.

New Jersey online gambling brands

888 NJCaesars
Golden NuggetHarrah's
TropicanaWSOP NJ
Betfair888 NJ
Ultimate GamingGolden Nugget
 Mohegan Sun
 Hard Rock
 Ocean Resort

[geoip2 region=NJarea][i15-table tableid=28399][/geoip2]

What it all means for NJ online casinos

After more than four years, the New Jersey online market continues to grow each and every month. There is still a lot of interest, evidenced by the ever-growing number of brands and websites entering the market.

But while there has still been lots of growth in the NJ online casino market, there are certainly at least signs that that growth is slowing at the tail end of 2017. Some new brands and sites have managed to be additive for the industry in its short history.  But there have also been cases where new deployments have not expanded the market significantly.

Many figured when Borgata owner MGM got into the market with its own branded poker site and casino, it could have that effect. While the playMGM brand has helped MGM’s bottom line, it hasn’t done much other than help the market’s growth continue at its current pace.

Hard Rock, like MGM, brings a new, well-known name in the gaming space. The unknowns of Ocean Resort Casino — in which interest is high — could attract some new online casino-goers. There’s a very real chance that both mange to add users to market.

But if the NJ online casino market is nearly tapped out in terms of growth, you might just see them steal some amount of revenue — or nearly all of it — from existing operators. So far, new NJ online casino additions have been able to carve out some marketshare without significant cannibalization. Whether that is the case when Hard Rock and Ocean Resort come online will be interesting to watch.

- Steve covers nearly every angle of online poker in his job as a full-time freelance poker writer. His primary focus for OPR is the developing legal and legislative picture for regulated US online poker and gambling.
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