New Jersey state officials were encouraged by online gambling revenue statistics released last week, but expect numbers to improve throughout 2014.
A total of $8.4 million in revenue was tallied by the state’s 15 online gambling sites from the Nov. 21 soft launch until the end of 2013. If those same numbers were spread out over the course of a year, the revenue would fall short of $100 million. That’s a far cry from the $200-$300 million projected annually by Governor Chris Christie.
Tropicana Casino and Resort president Tony Rodio told AP that the numbers will get better once mobile applications and additional slot games are available. He further added that regulated online gambling in the Garden States is
in its infancy and there is plenty of room for additional growth.
More than 155,000 player accounts have been created in New Jersey and new signups have climbed steadily over the six weeks or so that Internet gambling has been in play. More than nine million residents call New Jersey home and the state also culls players from neighboring states who happen to travel within state borders.
While marketing efforts have sometimes inundated the region with igaming advertisements, more of the same is expected in coming months. New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Director David Rebuck anticipates that the casinos will step up those promotional endeavors throughout the year in hopes of attracting more customers.
The result is likely to put an end to the seven years of declining revenues seen by casinos in Atlantic City, a losing streak that prompted legislators to move forward with online gambling legislation in the first place. Other states continue to watch New Jersey’s progress. If that progress ultimately fulfills the revenue goals established without hurting land-based gaming revenue, expect some of those other states to enact Internet gambling legislation of their own.
Early indications are that Internet gambling is not cannibalizing the brick and mortar casino revenue. The VP of online gambling at Golden Nugget, Thomas Winter, said that over 50% of the casino’s online players were not considered regular customers that played at live tables. Estimates projected long range point to some 60%-70% of online gamblers as being non-regulars.
For the entire state, should the market grow to that $200-$300 million annual range, roughly $25-$50 million would likely be counted as cannibalized land-based revenue. Those are figures that New Jersey officials could easily live with.