New Jersey Online Gambling Enjoys February Revenue Spike
New Jersey’s online gambling numbers continue to grow in the first few months following the state’s November rollout of real-money games, including online poker. Yesterday, the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement published its monthly financial summary from the Atlantic City casino industry, showing that online poker and online gambling in general continue to offer a glimmer of hope amid the larger malaise that continues to effect the Jersey gaming industry.
As of now, seven of Atlantic City’s 11 casinos have been approved for real-money online gaming, offering a total of 16 state-approved sites. Some highlights from the February financial numbers include:
- An 8.9% increase in overall online gambling revenue for licensed New Jersey sites in February, when compared to the previous month.
According to the DGE, was $10.3 million in February, up from $9.5 million in January. When evaluated on a day-by-day basis, the numbers are even more impressive. February’s average daily win for the collected online sites was $368,110, up from January’s $305,195. When correcting for February’s three fewer days (28) than January’s (31), the day-to-day percentage gain checks in at a healthy 20.6% increase.
- New online-gambling account registrations jumped by more than one-fourth during February.
As of January 31st, New Jersey players had combined to open 197,782 real-money gaming accounts. By the end of February, four weeks later, that number had swelled to 248,241, an increase of 25.5% That this percentage is even higher than the 20.6% day-to-day revenue gain shows that the state’s gamblers are still in the process of getting comfortable with the new technology.
- The online revenue gains helped mask what was, overall, another slightly declining month for New Jersey casino revenue.
The $10.5 million in monthly revenue for what was, a year ago, a nonexistent market segment, helped the state’s casinos to keep their revenue within shouting distance of 2013’s numbers. Overall, across all categories, the state’s 11 casinos logged a combined gambling win of $209.4 million for the month, off just 1.4% from the $212.3 million industry win for February of 2013.
On a casino-by-casino basis, the numbers are arguably slightly better. While Atlantic City’s 11 surviving land-based casinos actually posted a 1.5% year-over-year drop in live casino revenue, the $10.5 million in new online gaming revenue almost exactly cancels out the $10.2 million the closed Atlantic Club Casino might have generated, based on its February 2013 numbers. That $10 million has been scattered over those surviving casino properties with online presences.
Individually, there are big winners and loser in the February results for Atlantic City casinos, with only a partial correlation to the new online sites. Golden Nugget AC was up more than 25% in February from 2013’s numbers, while Revel and the Tropicana AC were up more than 20% each. Atlantic City’s largest casinos, the Borgata and Harrah’s, posted mild year-to-year declines of -1.6% and -5.5.% despite getting the largest shares of the new online revenue. Meanwhile, the two AC Trump properties, Taj Mahal and Plaza, continued to stagger with year-to-year declines of almost 25% each.
The state’s online gambling sector seems well on its way to reaching some of those rosy revenue projections, even if it’ll be two or three years behind schedule. It was just last month that Governor Christie’s administration had to acknowledge that the state’s official tax revenue projection of $200 million for the first year of legalized online gambling was widely optimistic. That number was recently corrected to $34 million for the fiscal year ending this June. The state gets a 15% slice of online revenue, which is a larger share than the 8% slice it gets from brick-and-mortar gaming.
The online segment received further good news just this week with the public acknowledgment that sometime in December, state regulators had quietly adjusted their geolocation protocols, fine-tuning some of the parameters that were resulting in “false positives” and preventing many Jersey residents from successfully activating and playing on new online accounts. (However, and with a hat-tip to Steve Ruddock, Jersey regulators deny a statement made by 888 execs that the adjusting was a “relaxation” of geolocation protocols.)
The populous but smallish state has large urban areas adjacent to New York City and Philadelphia, both just outside the state’s borders, and overzealous geolocation blocking had prevented many legally-entitled Jersey residents from participating. That’s been a fix in progress, and seems to have been quietly resolved.
Overall, the state’s February numbers show increasing good news for the sector, proving that the concept is a winner for the state’s consumers.