Editor’s note: New Jersey releases the gross revenue numbers for its regulated online poker sites and NJ online casinos each month, generally about two weeks after the close of the month.
It was a very merry holiday season for the New Jersey online gambling industry.
Operators combined to earn more than $29 million across poker and casino platforms in December 2018, clearing the previous monthly record by more than $2 million. It’s the third record-setting month in the past six and the largest increase across that period.
What’s more, the big haul lifts lifetime revenue above $1 billion since inception in 2013. We’ll put the running count here just to look at it: $1,013,752,368.
Some other December highlights include:
- Online gambling revenue of $29,008,265 is the highest monthly total since launch.
- Standalone online casino revenue of $27,243,703 is also a record — more than the combined total for any month, in fact.
- Total revenue, including online poker, surpassed $25 million for the fourth consecutive month (and five of the last six).
- Combined revenue was up almost 40 percent compared to 2017 ($20.8 million).
Other December 2018 highlights
- Market leader Golden Nugget became the first NJ operator to book an eight-figure win for a single month. Its December total of $10,178,563 is the biggest the industry has seen in its five-plus years of existence.
- For the first time, someone other than Golden Nugget posted a number higher than $5 million. Silver medalist Borgata saw its revenue surge to $5,052,051 in December, narrowly crossing a milestone of its own during the long holiday month.
- The chase pack is starting to separate just a bit. Both Caesars and Resorts generated revenue in excess of $4 million for the month, while Tropicana is still lingering back around the $3 million mark.
- Online poker continues to struggle, but December did bring some signs of life. Standalone revenue of $1,764,562 represents the first month-to-month increase for poker since the July report.
Revenue / month-over-month change (normalized for extra day in December) / year-over-year change:
- Overall: $29 million / +4.2% / +39.75%
- Online casino: $27.2 million / +3.9% / +44.8%
- Online poker: $1.8 million / +9.4% / -8.9%
What is there to say, really? Online gambling continues to set revenue records just about every single month in New Jersey, totaling nearly $300 million for the calendar year.
Online casino games are responsible for the vast majority of that ($277 million / 93 percent), of course. That market has grown by 45 percent since last December. Online poker, on the other hand, continues to struggle. While there was some visible growth for the first time in five months, poker’s share of total gaming revenue remains off for the year.
Lest you wonder if this uptick in online gambling is cannibalizing Atlantic City revenue, it’s not. If anything, it’s had the opposite effect. Land-based casinos brought in close to $210 million in December revenue on their own, up 12.3 percent from last year.
It is probably time to start adding online sports betting into the discussion, too. For the month, NJ online sportsbooks held about $14.65 million on more than $240 million in total wagers. As has been the case since launch, DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook continue to lap the competition.
You can read more about the NJ sports betting numbers for December on Legal Sports Report.
Winners and losers
In alphabetical order, by license holder:
- Borgata (Borgata, MGM, Pala, partypoker NJ): Welcome to the $5 million club, Borgata! After months of flirting with that elusive milestone, it finally broke through with a big December. A small slice of the credit goes to partypoker, which saw its revenue grow 8 percent to $441,172 for the month.
- Caesars (888, Caesars, Harrah’s, WSOP NJ): Caesars/Harrah’s are a long way from being No. 1 among NJ online casinos, but WSOP does own online poker in the state. It is the only NJ online poker site that’s grown since last year (38 percent), largely thanks to its exclusive multistate poker network that encompasses three states.
- Golden Nugget (Betfair, Golden Nugget, SugarHouse): This time in 2017, Golden Nugget was hovering around $6 million in monthly revenue. A year later, its baseline has soared to $10 million after posting the biggest month in NJ online gambling history. Nugget’s chart shows the steepest year-to-year revenue increase (67 percent) on the board.
- Hard Rock (Hard Rock): After posting steady growth through its first five months, Hard Rock online casino revenue was just about flat from November to December. It was responsible for approximately $1.3 million of the $29 million market total.
- Ocean Resort (Ocean Resort): The newest online (and land-based) casino in NJ is having some issues these days. Amid news that the brick-and-mortar property is being sold once again, Ocean Resort online casino revenue tumbled more than 35 percent in December. It failed to bank even half a million dollars for the month.
- Resorts AC (Mohegan Sun, PokerStars NJ, Resorts): Resorts finds itself in fourth place in the NJ online casino market, but it may not stay there for long. Its revenue has grown more than 55 percent over the last year, putting it right on Caesars’ heels for the third spot on the podium.
- Tropicana (Tropicana, Virgin): Unfortunately for Tropicana, it is stagnating in an otherwise-expanding marketplace — maybe even a bit worse than that. Its revenue was down 9 percent for the month and 6 percent for the year, slipping under $3.2 million for December. It is the only established NJ online casino operator losing ground at the moment.
Detailed numbers by operator/product
| ||Dec. 2018||Nov. (-1 day)||Difference month over month (Normalized)||Dec. 2017||Difference year over year
|Golden Nugget casino||$10,178,563||$9,515,130||+6.97%||$6,086,534||+67.23%
|Hard Rock casino||$1,322,747||$1,358,417||-2.63%||$-||N/A
|Ocean Resort casino||$478,717||$756,283||-36.70%||$-||N/A
The full report is available here.