Online gambling revenue in New Jersey amounted to $107.7 million in April, a 2% decrease in the daily average

New Jersey Online Casinos Experience A Rare Stumble In April, Amidst A Run Of Otherwise Steady Growth

Ordinarily, it’s news when a new all-time record is set. When it comes to US iGaming revenue, however, it’s quite the opposite. The industry’s growth is so consistent, it’s more remarkable when a state reports revenue that doesn’t beat its previous best.

That is, unfortunately, the case with the latest revenue report from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Online casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks in New Jersey all experienced a month of decline.

Total revenue for iGaming – that is, online casino and poker – amounted to $107.7 million in April, compared to $113.7 million in March. Sports betting – both retail and online – dropped from $60.8 million to $54.8 million.

Retail casino revenue was up slightly, in a reversal of last year’s pattern, but not quite enough to offset those other losses. Aggregate gaming revenue for the state across all channels and verticals amounted to $352.2 million, just a slight dip from $359.3 million in March.

NJ online gambling revenue highlights – Apr 2021

Whenever there’s a drop in revenue for a month with fewer than 31 days, that’s something that has to be taken into account. In this case, however, the missing day isn’t quite enough to explain the drop.

Taken together, online casinos and poker rooms in the Garden State averaged $3,591,654 per day in April. In March, they’d averaged $3,666,748. Operators therefore took in $75,094 less per day in April, a decline of 2.0%, though less of one than is suggested by the 5.2% drop in the monthly total.

This is the first time the daily average has dropped in the state since July 2020, when the state’s retail casinos reopened after the first shutdown. That drop was a mere $8,085 per day, so this one is much more significant.

The reason is probably similar, however. Technically, capacity limits at casinos weren’t removed until early May, but New Jersey began vaccinating in December. With warm weather arriving and infections on the decline, it’s likely that state residents are spending more time in public places and with friends, and less time at home on their computers.

Other figures to note from the month’s overall numbers include:

  • Total gaming revenue for the state is up 326.4% from April 2020. That was the worst quarter in many years thanks to the casino shutdown.
  • Internet gaming on its own was up merely 34.8% year-on-year, compared to 75.4% in March. Annual growth will look less impressive going forward, as the biggest gains for online channels came shortly after the shutdown of in-person gaming.
  • Total gaming taxes collected by the state in April amounted to $36 million, 45% of that coming from online casinos.

NJ market analysis: by licensee

The battle for market leadership in New Jersey isn’t over yet. One story we’ve followed through the latter half of 2020 and early 2021 has been Borgata chasing Golden Nugget for the title of top license holder. Last month, Borgata got there, but Golden Nugget is now fighting back.

Borgata, which is home to its own brand as well as BetMGM Casino and Partypoker, took a 9.3% dive in April, or 6.3% accounting for the shorter month. Conversely, Golden Nugget Online Casino – with the help of Betfair, BetAmerica and PlaySugarHouse – gained 2.1% on the month and 5.5% on the daily average.

The result is a deadlock. Who’s ahead depends on whether you include poker, but the difference is basically a rounding error either way. Golden Nugget pulled in $32,426,981. Counting casino only, Borgata fell a hair’s breadth behind, with a total of $32,062,127. However, its NJ poker rooms contributed $746,795 to give it the edge for overall iGaming.

Here’s how the rest of the field is shaping up:

  • Aside from Golden Nugget, only smaller licensees had a positive month. Tropicana gained 4.2% on the daily average, and Ocean was up 2.5%.
  • Hard Rock had the worst month of the lot, down 12.0% on the daily average and 14.8% on the monthly total.
  • Resorts remains the third-place license, with $19,614,084 in April. It would have a lot of work to do to join the race for the lead, however, holding just 18% of the market, compared to 30% apiece for Golden Nugget and Borgata.

NJ market analysis: by vertical

Online poker rooms had an even harder month than online casinos in New Jersey. Their revenue fell 10.9% on the month. Their daily average was a mere $80,218, a 7.9% drop from March, and just 2.2% of the total iGaming revenue for the state.

Performance for online casinos was nearly identical to that of total iGaming, simply because they account for so much of it. They averaged $3,591,654 per day, a drop of 1.9%.

The poor numbers for poker are due in part to a lack of significant tournaments. May should be better in that regard, since NJSCOOP is now underway. However, it’s been a rough year for online poker overall. It hasn’t held on to its pandemic gains the way online casinos have, and New Jersey poker room revenue is down 53% year-on-year.

NJ sports betting

NJ sportsbooks brought in a total of $54,839,217 in April, a drop of 9.7%, or 6.7% correcting for the number of days in the month.

The losses were entirely on the online side. Retail books actually increased their revenue 74%, but even so the market total was less than online betting made on its own in March. Nor was it a matter of bad luck on outcomes. Hold actually increased from 7.1% to 7.3% and handle fell by 13%, and even greater margin than revenue.

There’s no mystery here, however. March is famously the most lucrative month for sports betting in the US, thanks to the NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness. A drop in April is therefore the norm, even when the overall market trend is upwards.

You can read more about April sports betting revenue over at Legal Sports Report.

NJ online gambling revenue breakdown

Here are the full numbers for all operators and verticals. Note that monthly changes are normalized. That is, they are corrected for the number of days in the month and reflect the change in daily average revenue, not the monthly total.

 Apr 2021Mar 2021Δ (M/M)Apr 2020Δ (Y/Y)
Borgata
Poker$746,795$957,375-19.40%$1,220,076-38.79%
Casino$32,062,127$35,220,165-5.93%$14,648,385+118.88%
Overall$32,808,922$36,177,540-6.29%$15,868,461+106.76%
Caesars
Poker$1,017,832$988,525+6.40%$1,862,004-45.34%
Casino$8,178,208$8,766,458-3.60%$6,865,768+19.12%
Overall$9,196,040$9,754,983-2.59%$8,727,772+5.37%
Golden Nugget
Poker$0$0N/A$0N/A
Casino$32,426,981$31,755,606+5.52%$27,642,909+17.31%
Overall$32,426,981$31,755,606+5.52%$27,642,909+17.31%
Hard Rock
Poker$0$0N/A$0N/A
Casino$5,135,904$6,027,839-11.96%$4,483,830+14.54%
Overall$5,135,904$6,027,839-11.96%$4,483,830+14.54%
Ocean Resort
Poker$0$0N/A$0N/A
Casino$1,253,715$1,263,938+2.50%$1,131,108+10.84%
Overall$1,253,715$1,263,938+2.50%$1,131,108+10.84%
Resorts
Poker$641,914$754,021-12.03%$2,066,293-68.93%
Casino$18,972,170$20,681,348-5.21%$14,052,743+35.01%
Overall$19,614,084$21,435,369-5.45%$16,119,036+21.68%
Tropicana
Poker$0$0N/A$0N/A
Casino$7,313,962$7,253,912+4.19%$5,986,710+22.17%
Overall$7,313,962$7,253,912+4.19%$5,986,710+22.17%
All Operators
Poker$2,406,541$2,699,921-7.90%$5,148,373-53.26%
Casino$105,343,067$110,969,266-1.91%$74,811,453+40.81%
Total$107,749,608$113,669,187-2.05%$79,959,82634.75%
- Alex is a journalist from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. Now site runner for OnlinePokerReport, he has been writing about poker and the online gambling industry in various capacities since 2014.
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