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While the New Jersey casino industry’s revenue numbers were down in May, they would be much worse if it were not for online casinos. They have been the only game in town since the state’s land-based casinos closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Jersey gambling scene has suffered, but it is better off than other states where online casinos and sports betting are not regulated. In May, the revenues for gambling in the Garden State were down 65.4% on the same month last year.
According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, land-based casinos had a revenue stream of $222.9 million in May of 2019. With all those properties still closed, that number dropped to zero this year.
In contrast, online casino gambling in New Jersey had a revenue of $85.9 million in May of this year compared to $38.5 million last year. That figure is almost $6 million more than April of this year, when NJ casino sites raked in about $80 million.
While sports betting in the Garden State more than tripled its April revenue total from $2.6 million to $9.9 million in May, that is still a big drop from the $15.5 million taken in May 2019.
In the first five months of 2020, the total gambling revenue in New Jersey was $929.7 million, which is a decrease of 28.9% from the first five months of last year. That highlights the importance of land-based casinos, as the $337.8 million in online casino revenue for that period is almost double last year’s figure.
While not a big piece of the pie, online poker had a revenue of $4.5 million in May compared to $1.8 million in May 2019.
The Golden Nugget continues to set the pace for the NJ online casino market with $29.1 million in revenue for May. Second place for the month was Resorts Digital with $17.7 million, while Borgata came in third with $16.7 million. The Hard Rock Online Casino was a big mover with a revenue of $5.4 million compared to $1.5 million in May of last year.
The partnership between Meadowlands Racetrack and FanDuel led the sports betting figures with $4.2 million in May revenue, making up around 40% of the market. Resorts and DraftKings came in at $3.8 million for the month. FanDuel and DraftKings accounted for $8 million of the $9.9 million in sports betting revenue last month, with Borgata’s relatively meagre $694,000 in sportsbook takings good enough for third place.
In May 2019, New Jersey took in $23.6 million in casino tax revenue. That dropped to $14.2 million last month. That number does not take into account payroll taxes lost from furloughed casino workers as well as hotel and service taxes.
For the first five months of 2020, sports betting revenue is up 7.2% from the same period last year. Much of that can be accounted for in the parlay bets that are being made, as those have had a return of 18.2% to the New Jersey sportsbooks so far in the calendar year.
While the numbers are down because of the pandemic, there is hope on the horizon. There are now more sporting events to wager on, such as the German Bundesliga, PGA Tour, NASCAR, and the Australian football codes, while the big leagues of the NBA and NHL will likely resume play in July. On top of that, it looks like land-based casinos in New Jersey will be able to open their doors by the July 4 weekend.