While the revenues from New Jersey’s emerging online gambling market have been small, most observers have remained upbeat about the long-term prospects for Internet gambling in the state. After all, since the launch of the sites in November of last year, online casino and poker games have brought in more and more money each month, suggesting that steady growth could be expected for some time.
But that streak is now at an end. Internet gambling revenues were down slightly for New Jersey in April, falling to a total of $11.4 million for the month. That’s about a half-million less than in March, when the sites brought in $11.9 million.
Part of the reason for this is that April had one less day than March. But that doesn’t tell the whole story: the average take per day was also down very slightly, falling from $383,173 in March to $380,958 in April.
This comes after strong gains in recent months. Both January and March saw double-digit monthly gains over previous months, while even February – the shortest month of the year – saw a nine percent increase over January.
Good Weather, Payment Issues Cited
Officials cited possible reasons for the decrease, while remaining upbeat about the future of online gambling in the state.
“Maybe when the weather was nice, the laptops got closed and people decided to come down to Atlantic City,” said Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. Levinson also cited the continued problems with credit card deposits as a major factor.
“It simply takes time when launching a new business,” said Joe Lupo, senior vice president of the Borgata casino. Lupo also cited the payment processing issues as a problem, while also noting that increased mobile options for phones and tablets will ultimately help increase revenues going forward.
As we’ve recently reported, as many as half or more of all credit and debit card transactions to New Jersey online casinos have been rejected by the banks issuing those cards. The problem has been more prevalent with Visa cards than MasterCard products, while American Express and Discover do not accept any online gambling transactions.
Overall, the Borgata has still been the largest online gambling winner in 2014, taking in $16.4 million this year. Caesars Interactive has made $13.1 million so far, while the Tropicana has had revenues of $6.2 million. All other sites have made under $3 million since January.
Overall Revenues for Casinos Up
While Internet casino winnings may have stalled for the month, they still helped increase overall revenues for Atlantic City casinos. The total take – combining live and online winnings – was up 3.2 percent to $235.9 million. That’s despite the fact that revenues from brick-and-mortar casinos were down 1.8 percent year-over-year, though that number changes to a 3.3 percent increase if you discount last year’s revenues from the Atlantic Club, which is no longer in operation.
The biggest increase came from the struggling Revel Casino Hotel, which saw revenues jump 55 percent from a year ago. Other winners were the Golden Nugget, Caesars, and Borgata. Meanwhile, Trump Plaza saw a decline of 26 percent, the worst of any casino in the city.
For the first four months of the year, total casino winnings are down six percent compared to 2013.