Internet gambling and sports betting set new records in New Jersey

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Internet gambling and sports betting set new records in New Jersey in November as the Atlantic City gambling market continues to evolve and become less dependent on physical casinos, according to figures released Friday.

More than $171.5 million was won from online table games and slots by casinos and their technology partners, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

At the same time, the casinos and three horse tracks that accept sports bets took in $1.62 billion worth of bets in November — another record.

Taken together, these numbers provide fresh evidence that technology and a wider menu of wagering options are remaking the way some people gamble in New Jersey, where in-person gambling at a physical casino had long been the main way to bet.

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City gambling industry, noted that internet and sports betting accounted for about 45% of Atlantic City’s revenue in November.

But she views it as complementary to in-person casinos instead of competing with them.

“Rather than diminishing the brick-and-mortar gaming revenues, internet gaming and sports betting seem to be well-received consumer products that are filling a niche for certain gamblers,” she said. “There will never be a replacement for the in-person gaming experience, and the current relatively flat revenues from brick-and-mortar gaming may be simply evidence of a stable market.”

She said it remains to be seen how the surge in online and sports betting affect the casinos’ overall profitability. These revenue streams must be shared with partners like sports books and tech platforms and are not solely for the casinos to keep. That is largely why the casinos consider money won from in-person gamblers to be their key business.

And that key business continues to lag behind pre-pandemic levels. Of the nine casinos in New Jersey, only Hard Rock and the Ocean Casino resort won more from in-person gamblers in November of this year than they did in November 2019, before the pandemic broke out.

When all the money won in-person, online and from sports betting by the casinos and three racetracks is combined, the total amount won in November was $482.4 million — an increase of 9.4% from a year earlier.

The Golden Nugget, which has long had a robust online gambling operation, won over $50 million from internet casino games in November, up nearly 33% from a year earlier. Other big online winners included Resorts Digital, the internet arm of Resorts Casino, which won $47.2 million, up over 26%, and the Borgata, which won nearly $38 million online, down 14.4%.

In terms of overall gambling revenue, including internet and sports betting, the market-leading Borgata won over $97 million in November, down 8.6% from a year earlier; Golden Nugget won $61 million, up nearly 25%; Hard Rock won $52.4 million, up over 26%; Ocean won $36.7 million, up 5.7%; Tropicana won $28.5 million, up 8.2%; Harrah’s won $20 million, down 2.3%; Bally’s won $19.7 million, up over 29%; Caesars won nearly $17.9 million, down 6.6%; and Resorts won $12.4 million, an increase of just under 1%.

When looking at just the money won from in-person gamblers only, Borgata won $51.6 million, down 6.1%; Hard Rock won $41.4 million, up 16.7%; Ocean won $31.4 million, up 1.4%; Harrah’s won $19.4 million, down 7.6%; Tropicana won $17.8 million, down 6.8%; Caesars won $17.5 million, down 7.7%; Resorts won nearly $12.5 million, down 0.2%; Bally’s won $12 million, up 20.4%; and Golden Nugget won $11 million, down nearly 3%.

The total amount of money bet on sports, known as “handle,” reached a new high in November as well. But of the $1.62 billion worth of bets taken by the casinos and tracks, only $96 million was kept as revenue after paying out winning bets and other expenses.

The Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, just outside New York City and known for hosting a FanDuel sports book, won over half of that, at $57.6 million. Resorts Digital, with an affiliation with DraftKings, won over $19 million from sports betting.

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Follow Wayne Parry on X, formerly Twitter, at www.twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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