For a few months, New Jersey’s online casinos appeared to be building momentum. But as the temperatures have risen and summer draws closer, it appears that interest in the new gambling sites is starting to wane.
According to figures released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE), the Garden State’s Internet gambling sites brought in $10.4 million in May, or about $1 million less than they generated in April. That drop comes despite there being one more day in May than in April, meaning that the average daily take was also down significantly.
That brings the total haul from online gaming in New Jersey to about $61.9 million since the sites launched in late November 2013. Not only is this far short of the initial (and highly inflated) estimates that predicted the sites could bring in as much as a billion dollars in their first year, but it also suggests they could fail to reach the most recent estimates of $200 million to $300 million in annual revenues.
It’s uncertain as to why the state’s regulated sites took in less money in May. Online poker traffic is down worldwide since the winter, and it’s reasonable to consider that the improving weather throughout the spring has left fewer people interested in playing online games. Issues with payment processing and geolocation also persist for many players.
Overall Numbers Promising
But the news wasn’t all bad for the state’s gaming industry. The idea behind online gambling was to bolster the falling revenues of Atlantic City’s casinos, and that appears to have happened in May. The 11 remaining land-based casinos in the city brought in $232.3 million during the month, which was down about 8.2 percent from 2013. But if the revenue from the now closed Atlantic Club is discounted, the drop is only 3.1 percent. And adding in Internet revenues, the 11 casinos actually saw their combined revenues go up by 1.3 percent.
Officials say the story could have been even better for Atlantic City had it not been for some for some good luck experienced by players over the month.
“The amount of money changed into chips at the tables, which is the drop, was up 0.3 percent in May, and that’s a very positive sign and an indicator of increased gaming activity,” said Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. “We all know how fickle Lady Luck can be, and last month she favored the players a lot more and the casinos won a lot less at the tables.”
Borgata, Caesars Still Lead Online Market
In the online world, the Borgata once again led the way, claiming about 38 percent of the market. However, their revenues were down for the first time, as Atlantic City’s most successful casino brought in just over $4 million in online earnings. Caesars Interactive was also down slightly, bringing in about $2.8 million compared to $3 million in April.
That was largely the story throughout the city, as the Tropicana, Trump Plaza, and the Trump Taj Mahal all saw decreased Internet revenue in May. Only the Golden Nugget saw an increase of about six percent. They were also the biggest winners in terms of brick-and-mortar business, as their revenues were up 70 percent compared to May 2013.