New Jersey online poker continues steady decline

When online poker was legalized in New Jersey in 2013 it helped pave the way for online casinos and sports betting to be legalized in the Garden State. However, after a solid start, the New Jersey poker scene has been on the decline, and that continued with a less than stellar revenue stream for October.

When the regulators in New Jersey separated poker and casino games back in September of 2014, internet poker made up nearly 20% of gaming revenue for the state. For a few months that ratio remained intact, but that changed with the growth of the online casino industry.

In July of 2015 the revenue from online poker was at $1.9 million while casino gambling increased to account for around $10.6 million in revenue. Fast forward one year to July 2016 and online poker revenue jumped slightly to $2 million while online casino revenue spiked to $15.4 million. The numbers kept trending in that direction in July 2017 ($2m for poker, $18.6m for online casino) and July 2018 ($1.9m for poker, $24m for online casino).

Online poker has returned monthly revenues of between $1.7 million and $1.9 million for much of 2019, but in September and October those numbers dipped with a gross revenue of around $1.6 million in each month. On the other side of the coin, the monthly revenue for online casinos has averaged around $30 million for most of 2019. A new record was set in September with online casinos having a $39.5 million revenue stream, and in October that record was broken again with casino sites raking in $43.6 million.

While online poker has been in a slight decline, the numbers for online casino gambling have taken off. In 2019 poker revenue has decreased 2% while online casino revenue has increased a whopping 63.1%.

One of the reasons for the increase in online casino gambling is the wave of new customers that legalized sports betting has brought in. The mobile betting apps for NJ sportsbooks has lured new players to the casinos, which enjoy a larger profit margin than sports wagering products. However, the numbers indicate there was a shift towards online casino gambling even before sports betting became legal in New Jersey in 2018.

The land-based casinos in New Jersey took in a similar revenue in October 2018 and October 2019. The figure for October of this year was $202.3 million, only a slight increase from the $200.6 million recorded for the same month last year. However, the revenue derived from online gambling increased from $26.8 million in October 2018 to $45.2 million in October 2019. Also, all types of sports wagering increased from $11.7 million to $46.4 million.

All in all, overall gambling revenue for the Atlantic City casino industry increased 22.9% even though revenue from the land-based casinos remained relatively stable.

The one land-based casino in Atlantic City to see a big increase in revenue was Ocean Resort, as that rose 41% year-on-year to $18.4 million. That allowed the casino to rise to sixth spot in terms of revenue for land-based casinos in Atlantic City. While Ocean generated $175.3 million in revenue, first-placed Borgata pulled in some $595.5 million.

For 2019 so far, the state treasury has brought in $247.1 million in gambling tax revenue. This included all land-based casinos as well as regulated online casinos and online sportsbooks.


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