While there’s still debate about which state (Nevada or New Jersey) is the regulated sports betting king at the moment, there really is none about who wears the online gambling crown.
The Garden State’s online gambling platforms generated $67.3 mm in revenue during September, according to figures from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. That includes sports betting, online poker, online slots, and online table games. Garden State online gambling has been around for a while, beginning in late 2013, but it has taken off like a rocket ship with the introduction of online/mobile sports wagering last year, made possible by the famous U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
iCasino/poker accounted for about $41.1 mm, with the rest coming from online/mobile sports wagering. A new New Jersey sports betting handle record was set last month.
That $67.3 mm revenue figure accounted for 22.1% of total gaming revenue during the month. That percentage will continue to increase, as retail slot and table game revenue fell 3.2% in September. That traditional Atlantic City gaming win was up 8.5% through the first nine months of 2019 compared to 2018. Online casino alone was up 57% during the same period.
There is no question that New Jersey online gambling has been successful — but is there a prominent gaming market that can provide some more context?
Ohio casino gaming
The Buckeye State is currently drawing a ton of attention from the sports betting world with its debate this fall on a pair of sports wagering bills that were filed in the spring. Most state legislatures are done for the year, which has helped put Ohio in the spotlight. That’s a good thing, considering the state is emerging as a battleground for sports betting issues such as “official league data” and collegiate wagering. Ohio colleges and universities are apparently seeking a prohibition.
Ohio is potentially as lucrative a market as New Jersey. A 2017 study from Oxford Economics projected New Jersey and Ohio to be nearly identical sports wagering markets.
The big question right now is how Ohio regulates the activity. The writing is on the wall that the state won’t implement a law and accompanying regulatory structure that is nearly as industry-friendly as New Jersey’s, but anything can happen as the debate intensifies and the Senate and House work to reconcile their differences on sports gambling legislation.
Ohio would be wise to look closely at New Jersey, as opposed to a state like Illinois.
In September, Ohio’s four Las Vegas-style casinos generated $68.3 mm in gaming revenue, just $1 mm off from New Jersey’s online gambling market, according to figures from the Ohio Casino Control Commission. Racino gaming revenue isn’t included in the OCCC figure. Ohio began casino gaming in 2012.
In years past, Ohio lawmakers have more informally discussed other forms of online gambling, but they never gained much traction. Sports betting could be the gateway.
NJ vs. PA
Is the Pennsylvania market nipping at New Jersey’s heels?
The short answer: Hell no.
The Keystone State decided to implement a much higher tax structure for online casino and sports wagering than New Jersey. Pennsylvania has a different philosophy toward its gaming industry, with a state official recently calling casino gaming “a means to an end” — with the end goal being property tax relief. The states share a border, but they are worlds apart on gaming.
Under different market conditions, Pennsylvania’s online gambling market could beat New Jersey’s, but that won’t be happening — at least not anytime soon.
In September, Pennsylvania online casinos generated $4.1 mm in revenue, and the online/mobile sportsbooks generated $9.2 mm. People like Chris Christie scoff at those numbers.
To be fair, Pennsylvania’s online gambling market is much younger, with online/mobile sports betting beginning in May and iCasino kicking off in mid-July.
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