Borgata's online gambling revenue hit $36.2 million in March, exceeding Golden Nugget's for the first time

New Jersey Adds Another Record To Its Collection With $114 Million In Online Gambling Revenue For March

New Jersey iGaming has had another record month according to figures released for March. The Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) recorded online poker and online casino revenues of $113,669,187 for the month.

January was the first month in which online gambling revenue burst through the $100 million level. They dropped off the following month, but March figures are 9.5% up on that record number. Year-on-year figures show iGaming revenues up 75.4% since March 2020.

The annual comparison doesn’t represent the true trend because COVID lockdowns closed the casinos on March 16, 2020. However, these Mar. numbers do provide a picture of the first full year of internet gaming in the COVID era.

Online sports betting figures are reported separately, but $60,755,472 in retail and online revenues is a massive 361% increase year on year (YOY).

Detailed figures are available on the DGE website.

NJ online gambling revenue highlights – Jan 2021

The DGE report comes one year, almost to the day, since the COVID lockdown began. It didn’t lift until July, and even then significant health measures remained in place. The annual growth rate for iGaming over that period was staggering.

The three years from 2017 to 2019 saw online poker revenues shrink each year by –8.50%, -11.81% and –2.14% respectively. 2020 saw the decline reverse spectacularly as online poker grew by 85.35%. Year to date in 2021 the growth has continued with growth so far of over 9.19%.

Online casino figures are even more impressive. Casino was growing before 2020, but revenues more than doubled during the year. Year to date for 2021 and the growth is already at 84.24%.

Elsewhere in the numbers we find the following:

  • Poker had a down month in terms of daily average revenue. Though the monthly total was up, revenue dropped 1.7% from February after adjusting for the different number of days in the month. Seasonal variability is probably the root cause as online poker tends to decline as spring sets in and the days lengthen.
  • New Jersey received $37.7 million in total gaming taxes for the month.
  • Promo credits as a proportion of gross gaming revenue were 6.61%, significantly higher than their long run average of 5.7% since launch.

NJ market analysis: by licensee

The Borgata finally overtook the Golden Nugget to become the largest iGaming operator in New Jersey. Online Poker Report has been following the chase, and it has seemed inevitable for several months now that Borgata would ultimately prevail. In the end, though, it didn’t just creep ahead: it leaped.

As of last February, things were close. Borgata’s revenue from online casino and poker amounted to $25.7 million, while Golden Nugget had $27.9 million. In March, the Golden Nugget pushed its revenues up 14% to $31.8 million. However, that was nothing compared to Borgata. It saw its revenue shoot up 41% to $36.2 million, and claimed a commanding lead in the process.

What’s more, Golden Nugget spent more than twice as much of its gross revenue on promotions as the Borgata—11.0% versus 5.2%. That doesn’t bode well for its chances of reclaiming the lead.

Some other interesting operator figures include:

  • Corrected for days in the month, Borgata’s revenue increase amounted to 27%. However, Ocean Resort did better still and topped the market with a 35% increase in daily average revenue.
  • Resorts Casino was the only operator to see its daily average revenue drop. Both its poker and casino revenues fell, by 6.6% and 1.8% respectively, though it still came out ahead in terms of monthly total.
  • Caesars may be falling behind in the casino vertical, but it remains the top dog in poker with an average 41% market share over the last 12 months. Borgata isn’t far behind, however, and its March online poker revenue fell only $31,150 short of that of Caesars. This isn’t the first time Borgata has closed in on Caesars, but the latter’s WSOP/888 Network has consistently remained ahead of Borgata’s Partypoker/Borgata Poker/BetMGM Poker combo.

NJ market analysis: by vertical

Total online casino revenue was up 9.75% month on month and 81.34% YOY. The casino industry took some heavy revenue knocks during the COVID lockdown so NJ casinos must be grateful for the revenue legal online gaming is producing. While it can’t replace all the COVID losses, it is a growing source of income in an uncertain time.

The customer behavioral changes resulting from COVID are significant, but are they permanent? Even before 2020, online casino revenues grew strongly, but at some point the market must become saturated.

The question for 2021 and the next few years is whether COVID has accelerated the journey to market saturation or whether it has moved the saturation point up the scale.

Online poker had a mini-boom in 2020, but the effects are slowly declining. This month saw online poker revenues slip by 1.7%, although the Borgata bucked the trend and increased its poker revenues by 8.55%.

There is still plenty of space for poker to grow, but the infrastructure isn’t yet there. The industry needs more states with legal online poker and for these states to pool their players through an interstate compact. Meanwhile, online poker in New Jersey lacks the tipping point numbers to be as successful as online casino.

NJ sports betting revenue – Mar 2021

March Madness drives sports betting revenue every spring, and 2021 has been no different.

Total handle in the month was $859,617,961 up 15.7% compared to February. Total revenues surged from $46.1 million to $60.76 million. The revenue rise of 31.7% came from an improved hold rate of 8.62%.

Retail sports betting’s share of the market fell slightly to 7%. Online sports betting is where all the action goes, almost everywhere that it’s legal. New York has finally got the message and this year’s budget resolution includes text to legalize mobile sports betting in the state.

To what extent New York’s new sports betting may take market away from New Jersey is debatable. We shall just have to wait and see.

For more details and analysis, see the latest from LegalSportsReport.

NJ online gambling revenue breakdown

 Mar '21Feb '20Δ (M/M)Mar '20Δ (Y/Y)
Golden Nugget
Hard Rock
Ocean Resort
All Operators
- A former founder of Poker Industry Pro and Head of Content at PokerNews publisher iBus Media, Joss Wood is a graduate in English from the University of Birmingham. Joss also holds a master’s degree in Organisational Development from the University of Manchester. His career path has taken him from the British Army, through business and finance to seven years as a successful professional poker player.
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