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The online casino industry in New Jersey has enjoyed continual growth since it became legal seven years ago. In 2017, the state’s online gaming revenue was $245.6 million, a 25% increase over 2016, and in 2019 that figure rose to $482.7 million. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement recently released the numbers for June, which point to another record year in 2020.
The June online gambling revenue in the Garden State was $84.9 million. That was just shy of the May revenue total of $85.9 million, which was the biggest month ever. In mid-March the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Atlantic City casinos to shut their doors, which led to three months of record revenue numbers from April to May.
Atlantic City casinos back in business
On the July 4 weekend, eight of the nine land-based casinos in Atlantic City reopened. Borgata was the only one that did not, and it recently announced it would be opening its doors on July 26.
While the casinos have limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, the July revenue for online casinos may decrease as gamblers return to land-based venues. A few years back, the Atlantic City casino industry found that the introduction of online gambling did little to diminish the revenue stream at brick-and-mortar establishments.
In February of this year, while the AC casinos were still open, the online casino revenue stream was $52 million. In each of the past three months, that number has been between $80 and $86 million. That may show that players who normally gamble in Atlantic City turned to online casinos during lockdown.
In the next few months, the New Jersey online casino industry may suffer more of a decrease in revenue if Governor Phil Murphy lets the casinos operate at more than 25% capacity. Online casinos have helped the New Jersey gambling industry’s bottom line, but the numbers are still down significantly, as the land-based casinos bring in the lion’s share of the gaming revenue.
In 2019, the state’s online casino revenue was $482.7 million, while the land-based casino revenue was $2.69 billion. Both retail and online sports betting had total revenue of $299.4 million last year.
Sports betting on the up as leagues return
New Jersey sports betting got off to a great start in 2020 with a January revenue stream of $53.6 million. With the lack of sports to bet on due to the pandemic, revenue plummeted to only $2.6 million in April. However, with sports slowly returning, that number jumped to $9.9 million in May and up to $12 million in June.
Online poker also saw a big revenue spike during the first three months of the pandemic. However, that spike has decreased from $5.1 million in April to $3.5 million for June. Still, that figure is about double the online poker revenue of June last year.
It is not a coincidence that the sports betting revenue has increased while online poker revenue has decreased. That may happen more if the professional sports leagues, mainly the NBA, NHL, and MLB, are able to get their seasons going in the next few weeks.