New Jersey paints pale comparison as shutdown costs are highlighted

New Jersey sportsbooks closed out April at a two-year low, continuing the trend set a month earlier, as the Garden State’s online casinos boomed over the course of the month.

The region’s igaming entities and poker rooms generated a best ever $79.96m in revenue, up 118.6 per cent from $33.6 a year earlier, with poker tripling its figures from February to post a record $5.15m, also up from $3.6m a month earlier.

Despite this the $43.4m in year-over-year gains in revenue replaces just 20.9 per cent of the $207.6m in revenue that land-based casinos in Atlantic City generated in April 2019.

Golden Nugget remains the jurisdiction’s dominant force with revenue of $27.6m, ahead of Resorts Digital and Borgata which posted $16.1m and $15.8m, respectively.

“Such a dramatic shift to digital gambling could permanently alter the market, even after land-based casinos open,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for PlayNJ.com. “The longer the current closures go on the higher chance there is for a more permanent shift in bettors’ preferences for digital gaming.”

With sporting options limited and retail sportsbook out of operations, PlayNJ estimates that the region is out approximately $450m in best during the course of the month.

New Jersey’s sportsbooks collected just $54.6m in bets in April, according to official reporting. Announced ahead of the second anniversary of the PASPA decision that opened the door to legal gambling in New Jersey, sportsbooks posted the lowest statewide total since $40.7m was wagered in June 2018, the first full month of legal sports betting.

Handle was down 82.6 per cent from $313.7m in April 2019, yielding $2.6m in gross revenue, down 87.7 per cent from $21.2m year-on-year. That generated $356,726 in state taxes.

“Seeing New Jersey’s retail sportsbook handle at zero and its land-based casinos generate no revenue is jarring, laying bare just how much these shutdowns are costing the industry,” said Dustin Gouker, lead analyst for PlayNJ.com.

“The jump in revenue from online casinos and poker is welcome, but there is no way yet for it to fully make up for the revenue lost by Atlantic City’s casinos and sportsbooks.”

Adding: “This is the US gaming industry’s first full glimpse of the dramatic effect these shutdowns are having because New Jersey was mature enough last year to offer a true year-over-year comparison. The picture for the industry is not pretty, and that will continue until sports leagues figure out a way to reopen.”