NJ Online Casinos Stay Open For Business, While Almost Everything Else Closes

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Many of those who enjoy gambling in the U.S. are seeing their state’s casinos close due to the coronavirus — Nevada’s now included. Same goes for New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered all of the Atlantic City casinos closed indefinitely.

The Meadowlands Racetrack and Freehold Raceway also have closed, while Monmouth Park has pushed back its May 2 opening date for thoroughbred racing for at least several weeks.
Amid the global health emergency, with scores of Americans now hunkered at home “social distancing” and also working from home, internet consumption has surged and will test network capacity. Netflix, Disney+ and other streaming services are spiking worldwide, and video game usage is up 75% amid the outbreak.
Also for entertainment’s sake in New Jersey, there’s legal sports betting, including a mobile component that many states such as New York do not have. But unless you’re eager to learn about which teams are good choices in Turkish or South American soccer matches, that doesn’t do much good. The NBA, NHL, and MLB all have suspended operations, and there are no major golf, tennis, or auto racing events taking place, either.
Many gamblers may not like to play the lottery or may not be eager to visit a local retailer during this time for health concerns. For sportsbooks, the cancellation of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will take a heavy toll on business. And like many industries bracing for a severe economic downturn, casino operators are turning to Congress for emergency financial help. How much will online casinos in New Jersey fill the void? It’s something.

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Atlantic City closed, internet open

“The good news is online gaming will continue, the bad news is there’s not much to wager on,” Governor Murphy said at a press conference Monday afternoon.
Fortunately for New Jersey residents, the state became a national pioneer in 2013 (along with Delaware) in offering a robust slate of legal, online casino games and poker. For general questions, here is an overview and primer of New Jersey’s online gaming industry.
There are 32 legal online casino sites all told in New Jersey, and you can read our reviews of the best of them here.
There are 10 sites operated by the MGM-owned Borgata, including the Borgata Casino, PartyPoker and Pala Casino.
Caesars’ six sites feature partners such as WSOP and 888casino. The WSOP online circuit event is running from March 14-31, when you can compete against players in NJ, NV and DE for the same circuit rings awarded at live WSOP circuit events. See the full schedule here.
SugarHouse and BetAmerica are among five Golden Nugget-backed brands.
Resorts’ four options include gaming industry giants DraftKings — which indeed has an online casino now as well,  PokerStars, and Mohegan Sun.
Hard Rock has bet365 among its three offerings, while Ocean Resort has Parx Casino among its duo, and Tropicana’s pair consists of its own Tropicana Casino and Virgin Casino.

Biggest players in the sector

In the first two months of 2020, Atlantic City’s casinos took in more from online casino gaming, $107.1 million, than from sports betting, $70.6 million. Some of those sports bettors no doubt are gravitating to online casino games now.

For that 60-day period, Golden Nugget took in the most revenue with $41 million. Resorts Digital, with those big-name partners, was next at $24.4 million. Borgata — by far the top brick-and-mortar casino in the city — took third at $18.5 million.
The Caesars brands edged out Tropicana, $8.7 million to $8.2 million. The newest casinos, which both opened in mid-2018, are still getting their bearings in the seven-year-old industry at $5.2 million and $1 million, respectively.
Some sites such as Golden Nugget, Borgata and BetMGM Casino offer virtual “live dealer” games — yes, with humans dealing cards for persons “seated” at the table digitally — that are likely to appeal to newcomers used to playing at their favorite brick-and-mortar casinos in Atlantic City. Those who are missing the live casino action can try these “live dealer” games at a reduced minimum bet of $1 on most games during the crisis that will keep people inside for an indefinite period of time.
While regional racetracks, including Yonkers Raceway, have been sidelined indefinitely, there are pockets of racing still going in the U.S. Sports bettors seeking refuge there can reactivate or sign up for a mobile horse race wagering account at 4njbets.com.

What else is not open in New Jersey during the coronavirus crisis?

The governor’s order closes “all public and private preschool, elementary and secondary schools, and institutions of higher education, as well as closes all casinos, racetracks, gyms, movie theaters, and performing arts centers.
“The order also mandates that all non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor license, are limited to offering only delivery and/or take out-services only, both during daytime hours and after 8 pm.
“Examples of essential businesses excluded from this directive include: grocery/food stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, gas stations, healthcare facilities and ancillary stores within healthcare facilities.”
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John Brennan

John Brennan has covered NJ and NY sports business and gaming since 2002 and was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist in 2008, while reporting for The Bergen County Record.

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