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The New Jersey online casino industry just passed six years in business. In the beginning there were 13 online casino and poker websites, but there are now over 40 online gambling platforms and counting. With more and more states now moving to legalize sports betting and other forms of online gaming, NJ is several years ahead of the curve.
When New Jersey online gaming went live in December of 2013, the first monthly revenue stream was $7.4 million. That was good back then but nothing to the numbers six years later. For example, online casino revenue for July 2018 was $25.8 million, and those numbers have continue to grow alongside the rise of NJ sports betting.
Now there are seven New Jersey gambling license holders that have reported a record revenue for their gambling product. Online casino revenue for October 2019 was $45.2 million, which is an increase of 69% from October 2018. Add in the $38.7 million that online sports betting took in this October and you get over $80 million for the month.
It was hard to imagine back in 2013 that online casino revenue would top land-based casino revenue, but that happened at two casinos in Atlantic City this October. The Golden Nugget took in a revenue of $14.7 million for their land-based casino while their online product hit $16.6 million. Resorts Casino in Atlantic City brought in $12.1 million from their land-based property and Resorts Digital took in $20.8 million from their mobile casino and online sportsbook.
Then and now
There have been many changes in the New Jersey online gambling scene in the last six years. One of the bigger ones has been the cross-selling of products, as online casino, poker, and sports betting were not all available simultaneously back in 2013. The operators and regulators have played a big factor in how the New Jersey online gaming industry is now.
David Schwartz, who is a gambling expert at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently stated, “I think the difference-maker was operators willing to invest in the new area and regulators who were willing to roll up their sleeves and take on the challenges of monitoring a new gambling form.”
Innovation has been very important in the online gambling industry in New Jersey. Gaming companies are making sure their products are solid, and they are not just watching how many new customers they have and how much they are making from deposits.
Yaniv Sherman, who is the head of group commercial development at 888 Holdings, believes companies should not be lax and get comfortable with existing products. For example, 888 Casino recently launched the Orbit gaming platform in order to give players a better user experience.
“[Customers] need to be able to move between the products seamlessly and have an entertaining experience. That’s exactly our goal,” Sherman said.
“The better American products are yet to be seen, and as a tech developer this is what we are aiming for. [We want to] offer the best possible product in the marketplace.”
NJ preparing for stiff competition
While the New Jersey online gambling market has been successful, the competition will only increase as more and more nearby states move towards legalized sports betting. The most prominent example is Pennsylvania, where the likes of Parx, SugarHouse, and Unibet have online gaming products in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The FanDuel and DraftKings online sportsbooks are now also available in both states.
Will Pennsylvania take a slice of the profit pie from New Jersey? This was a question that was posed a few years ago when the Keystone State opened some land-based casinos. The online factor means placing bets at home is a much easier option, while the NJ wagering industry is better established and has already ironed out a lot of kinks that PA hasn’t addressed yet.
It is too soon to judge what the long-term impact will be. Wire Act changes and various partnerships and deals may help or hurt the growth of the gaming industry in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
According to Schwartz, “I think it may impact New Jersey a bit, as PA players stay home to place online wagers, but it isn’t a given. If the customer experience isn’t as good in PA as it is in NJ, PA players could continue to cross the border to place bets.”
New Jersey looks to the future
When you compare New Jersey’s online gambling industry to the one in Europe, it is still very young. That is the main reason why it is difficult to see what will happen in the future.
For example, the land-based casinos of Resorts, Caesars and Bally’s have been in business in Atlantic City for at least four decades and each has had their share of ebbs and flows, but all are still in business. The online casino and sports wagering applications are a big factor when it comes to growth in the future of these established properties.
Schwartz predicts a slow growth in the online casino industry, forecasting “nothing spectacular”. He also stated, “As people get more used to playing online, it will level off.”
While it may level off and the online gambling industry will have its ups and downs in the future, the market continues to break revenue records and that is a good sign in New Jersey six years on.