DraftKings Turns Stagnant Resorts Into An Online Casino Powerhouse In February

New Jersey online casinos saw their second best month ever in February, with DraftKings' casino significantly increasing Resorts' earnings.
Resorts Casino Resort Atlantic City
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New Jersey online casinos didn’t top their blockbuster January numbers last month, but came relatively close. During February, the state’s online gambling sites raked in $31.7 mm in total revenue ($29.9 mm from casino and $1.8 mm from poker), putting it on the board as the industry’s second-best month ever. The numbers constitute a 48% year-over-year increase in online casino profits, and a rare, 2% year-on-year bump for struggling Garden State online poker rooms.

Also represented in the figures is a dramatic increase in hold for Resorts Casino, whose licensee, DraftKings, has achieved stunning success in the space after spinning off an online casino from its sportsbook operation in December.

Top-level February revenue breakdown

  • February total iGaming: $31,748,726
  • Y-o-Y change: 44.4%
  • M-o-M change: -5.5%
  • Online poker: $1,810,597
  • Online casino: $29,938,129
  • Tax revenue: $5,556,027

DraftKings casino jolts growth at Resorts

While Resorts plays host to two blue-chip gaming brands, PokerStars and DraftKings, the former has been somewhat of a disappointment. The addition of DraftKings, however, has helped the licensee become the second-highest earning online casino among its peers over the span of just a few short months.

DraftKings originally launched in June as an online sportsbook, but late in the year began stocking its site with casino games, slots and even Live Dealer options. The site’s sports bettors have quickly taken to the new titles, propelling its host’s revenue from $3.7 mm in December to $5.7 mm in January, and helping the company break its all-time record with $6.1 mm total in February.

Indeed, for more than a year, Resorts revenue hovered just under $3 mm, but last month its overall take shot up nearly 100% compared with the same time period last year.

In terms of online casino, the licensee is now behind only Golden Nugget, the longtime market leader, which had its first $6 mm+ month back in July 2017.

Winners and losers

Golden Nugget, once again, dominated the competition in February with $10.7 mm in earnings, its second best month on the books. While impressive, the take is more than $1 mm less than what it brought in during its record-breaking $12.2 mm January.

Caesars and Borgata both had big months compared with their February 2017 earnings. Caesars, which also broke its all-time record in January, banked $3.5 mm last month for a 32% y-o-y increase. Borgata, home to Party Casino, playMGM, and others, saw a 24% year on year bump and a total take of $4 mm.

The nascent Hard Rock Online Casino continued its streak in February of setting new revenue highs each month since it launched in June. While growth wasn’t as wide as it has been in previous months, it took in $1.7 mm in February, a little over $45k more than it reported in January.

Hard Rock’s uptick was relatively small, but it gives the casino the distinction of being one of only two licensees to beat its month-over-month total. Of course, February’s numbers are usually lower than other months, due to it having only 28 days.

The other new kid on the block, Ocean, saw its fortunes dip by around $50k in February to $483k, a 9% month-over-month decrease. However, normalized for a 31-day period, the casino’s revenue would have been around $535k, slightly beating its January total.

Unlike Hard Rock, Ocean has not seen its earnings rise with each passing month. The online casino hit its peak in November when it banked $731k, but quickly saw a quarter-million dollar drop the following month. The iGaming site’s land-based facility has faltered over the past several months, and was recently taken over by lenders. It’s yet to be seen if a planned $70 mm investment in the property can help boost revenues, at the brick-and-mortar location or online.

A rare poker victory

New Jersey online poker produces very little good news, but February’s numbers were something of a bright spot. The state’s three poker room licensees raked $1.8 mm in total, a 2% year-over-year bump.

Licensee Caesars, which hosts 888 and WSOP.com, and connects with companion sites in Nevada and Delaware, raked in the lion share of the profits ($788k), while PokerStars and Borgata made due with $564k and $458k respectively.

NJ online poker is facing what could amount to an existential threat, if operators are forced to comply with a recently reimagined interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act. The new guidelines would likely force states to close their borders and stop sharing player pools, choking off the industry from much-needed liquidity.

Even so, the WSOP has ramped up its online bracelet event schedule, recently announcing nine virtual bracelet events which will run every Sunday of the WSOP, from June 2 through July 14.

Depending on how a recent challenge of the Wire Act interpretation goes, the flurry of events could either be a last hurrah or the start of a growing tradition.

February totals

Golden Nugget$10,701,266$10,701,266$1,872,722
Hard Rock$1,668,777$1,668,777$292,036
Month totals$1,810,597$29,938,129$31,748,726$5,556,027
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