New Jersey iGaming Revenues Continue to Outpace Retail Casinos

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One record-breaking year deserves another. To close out 2023, New Jersey’s iGaming sector tallied more than $1.9 billion, almost $300 million more than 2022’s $1.66 billion total. February was incredibly kind to the Garden State’s iGaming sector, bringing in more than $180. Undoubtedly, most of that came from sports betting from the Super Bowl, where, once again, the Chiefs beat the 49ers. When you factor in retail sports bets and casino wagers in Atlantic City’s nine casinos, that number grows to over $460 million, more than 10% of February 2023’s totals.

But as impressive as February’s online gambling hall was, it ended four straight months of record-breaking online gambling and sports betting revenue. January was also profitable, with New Jersey’s Gaming Division reporting a nearly identical $183.3 million. Golden Nugget New Jersey has led the pack this year with slightly over $50 million in online gambling revenue. Borgata and its big-sister site, BetMGM, have had a solid start to 2024 with over $40 million in gambling revenue.

While these mind-boggling online casino numbers are a reason for optimism for New Jersey’s prolific online casinos, they also continue to mark a troubling trend for the future of Atlantic City’s nine casinos. It’s no mystery that Atlantic City’s casinos are struggling to regain their profit margins before the untimely COVID-19 shutdown by Governor Murphy. Being forced to stay at home, the American iGaming industry ballooned to over $60 billion in recent years because traditional gamblers fell in love with the comfort and unbeatable 24/7 access to playing anytime they want and anywhere they want in the state. Elite online casinos like Caesars Palace Online and FanDuel offer user-friendly apps and unbelievable new member bonuses to pry long-time gamblers away from retail casinos.

Many of New Jersey’s legendary retail casinos, like MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, and Ballys, have thriving virtual casinos in the Garden State. Thirty New Jersey online casinos are active, with plans to launch more this year, even though Unibet is leaving the North American market. Another threat for New Jersey’s embattled casinos is the pressure to impose a non-smoking ban.

A major announcement about the direction of the casino smoking ban is set for April 5th. Last month, New Jersey’s state senate introduced a bill to limit smoking centers in the casinos. However, influential organizations like the U.A.W. are calling for a complete ban. Should advocates like C.E.A.S.E. succeed, more long-time gamblers might permanently turn to New Jersey’s virtual casinos to enjoy their favorite casino games and smoke, too. While this would continue to grow the online gambling revenue, it might also permanently put Atlantic City’s once-formidable casinos out of business.