What was once promised as yet another jump-starter to help New Jersey boost its gambling revenues is once again sputtering before everyone’s eyes. While it’s not (yet) on the catastrophic level of Revel, the state of online gambling isn’t getting the kind of boost New Jersey administrators would have hoped. For the month, the 16 online gambling sites in operation won $10.3 million, nine percent more than the $9.5 million it all took home back in January.
Growth has stalled considering that January’s haul was actually a 28-percent growth from its December numbers. It’s come to the point that the Christie administration has all but thrown the towel out on making any kind of estimates on tax revenues coming from online gambling. But God bless the optimists, including 888 Holdings CEO Brian Mattingly, who remains confident that the fledgling online gambling market is right where it should be at this point in the game. “We are delighted with the way it has started,” Mattingly said. “All of us got into a good rhythm and started some good marketing”.
It’s easy to give Mattingly some flak for smelling too much of the roses, but to be fair to the guy, online gambling is still in its infancy and there’s still plenty of room for growth in that department. Borgata’s online casino site, in particular, has been doing quite well, according to Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith. “We were particularly encouraged by the performance of Borgata’s online casino site, which achieved month-over-month revenue growth of 36 percent, and more than 50 percent on a per-day basis,” Smith said.
“Looking ahead, we continue to see significant opportunities for future growth in New Jersey as we refine and enhance our online product.”
So even with the less-than-stellar growth we’ve seen so far, a lot of people are still taking the glass-half-full philosophy about its growth, even if the Christie administration’s initial estimates have proven to be more wishful thinking than anything else.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the revenues of all 11 Atlantic City casinos, which is looking more and more like a lost cause as the months go by. Taking out revenues earned from online gambling, Atlantic City casinos only took in $199.1 million in revenue, 1.5 percent lower than what they earned in the same time last year. That’s when you take out Atlantic Club’s numbers, which closed down in January. When you add online gambling and Atlantic City’s revenue numbers from a year ago, the $209.4 million is still 1.4 percent lower than revenues a year ago. If that’s not a clearer indictment on things have gone in the AC, we don’t know what else is.
Of the 11 casinos still chucking it out, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa still contributed the biggest chunk of revenues at $45.8 million, even if that number is 1.6 percent down from its January figures. Coming in second was Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, which posted $26.3 million in revenue, 5.5 percent lower than its numbers the month before. Caesars Atlantic City saw its monthly revenue numbers jump 5.8 percent to $25.6 million while the Tropicana Casino and Resort was one of the big winners with a 20.7 percent monthly growth to $19.7 million, followed by Bally’s Atlantic City at $16.6 million, 11.4 percent lower compared to January. Taking in $15.6 million for the month was Trump Taj Mahal Casino, (24 percent lower) with the Golden Nugget Atlantic City not far behind at $12.5 million. To the Nugget’s credit, it actually posted the biggest monthly gain, largely due to aggressively coming after customers of Atlantic Club. The strategy worked, too, because its monthly numbers jumped 26.5 percent.
The Showboat Casino Hotel comes next at $12.2 million, down 16.5 percent from January. Revel Casino Hotel was also one of the biggest winners (a rare feat!), posting a 20.7-percent monthly gain to $10.9 million. Bringing up the rear are the Resorts Casino Hotel at $9.7 million, up 11 percent, and the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, the biggest loser of the month, at just $3.9 million, a 25-percent decline from its January numbers.