NJ online casinos booked their second-biggest win ever in May, raking in $36.5 mm in slots and table game revenue, along with another $1.8 mm at the poker tables.
The $38.3 mm total — which was generated in large part thanks to Golden Nugget breaking the $14 mm barrier for the second time — represents a 58% year-over-year gain, but falls around $800K short of the all-time revenue record NJ iGaming sites achieved during March.
Market-leader Golden Nugget, and its stable of online casino licensees, took the lead again last month, posting a $14.1 mm win, nearly double that of its closest competitor. The eight-figure score was a 64% bump over what it made during the same timeframe last year, and just $150K off from its all-time high.
In terms of year-on-year gains, Resorts was far and away the winner, raking in $7.3 mm dollars, a stunning 150% more than it did during May 2018. The figure is an enormous increase over the $3 mm it was averaging late last year, and can be mainly attributed to DraftKings joining the licensee’s family.
Indeed, DraftKings, the DFS behemoth-turned sports betting giant, hasn’t stopped at sports wagering. The brand has also branched out into the online casino space, and has steadily been growing its library of slots and table games under the Resorts umbrella.
Through its years operating in the US as a daily fantasy provider, the company has cultivated a massive player base, and many of those players make the switch from wagering on sports to betting on traditional casino games, providing an iGaming revenue boost for both DraftKings and Resorts.
Another big winner in May was Borgata, which topped its own personal best with $5.5 mm, a 33% Y/Y increase.
Like Resorts, Borgata’s revenues have been steadily on the rise since late last year, when the licensee was regularly reporting wins of just over $4 mm. Borgata serves as the hub for several other online casino brands, including Party Casino, Pala Casino, playMGM, and Scores. PlayMGM and Borgata now both offer online sports betting as well.
Hard Rock and Ocean on a sinking ship?
While Hard Rock banked just $30K less than it did last month, overall, it could an indicator of a worrying trend. Every month from the day it launched in June of last year until this February, the property’s online casino had beaten its previous month revenue record. The site’s take peaked at $1.67 mm in February, but since then, has been on a steady decline.
Ocean, for its part, fared much better than it did in April, but seems to be on a downward trajectory of its own. Ocean’s revenue topped out at $731K in its fifth month of operation, and apart from a few spikes, has been sliding since.
While other operators like Borgata, Golden Nugget, and Resorts are celebrating massive year-over-year gains, Hard Rock and Ocean’s slowdown, so early in their lifespan, could be a sign of trouble to come.
Some rare good news for online poker
Anyone who has been paying attention to the online poker industry in New Jersey over the past few years knows that things have not been going well — and last month was no different.
The state’s poker licensees raked in $1.8 mm total in May, a near 7% year-on-year decrease, marking yet another down month for the struggling industry.
PokerStars did enjoy a sizable $130K bump in revenue due to the running of the New Jersey Spring Championship of Online Poker, but still wasn’t able to overtake market leader Caesars, which links player pools in two additional states.
However, the poker industry and PokerStars in particular might find reason to be more optimistic, due to a federal judge’s recent decision to vacate a Department of Justice opinion on the Wire Act.
The DOJ suddenly reversed its stance on the Wire Act in January, stating that the law should apply not only to sports betting, but to online poker and casinos as well. The fallout could have been a virtual death sentence for U.S. online poker, as it would have likely prohibited sites from linking player pools interstate.
With that opinion overturned, though, operators can now have more confidence in the law, and much less reason to worry about their data traveling between states. This is great news for the online poker industry as a whole, and is especially nice for PokerStars, which already has a partner lined up in Pennsylvania and is itching to expand beyond the Garden State.
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