Inside Gaming: New Jersey, Penn Both Top $3.4B Gaming Revenue for 2019
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Online, Sports Betting Ensure New Jersey Gaming Revenue Increase for Year
New Jersey sportsbooks and casinos ended 2019 on a high note with numbers once again significantly boosted by online revenue and sports betting, according to the monthly revenue report delivered this week by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
For December, the total gaming revenue from the state's casinos and racetracks was $287.3 million, up 11% year-over-year to mark a 19th-straight monthly increase. But the good news doesn't end there.
Revenue from online gaming — otherwise known as the Internet Gaming Win — totaled $49.3 million, up 70% from a year ago and once again breaking the state's record of $49.1 million set just a month before in November. Sports Wagering Gross Revenue added up to $29.4 million, also up a healthy 41.1% from December 2018. Once again, sports bets placed online comprised the majority of both the handle and revenue — a bit over 86% in both cases.
The December numbers all helped round out a positive calendar year for New Jersey. Total Gaming Revenue for 2019 from casinos and sportsbooks at racetracks was $3.469 billion, a 19.5% increase from the just over $2.9 billion of 2018. The total marks the fifth-straight yearly increase and the first time since 2012 the Garden State has earned more than $3 billion in gaming revenue.
While the Casino Win was up 7% for the year (to $2.687 billion), online revenue's 61.6% gain (to $482.7 million) helped bolster that overall increase in a significant way.
Meanwhile the gross revenue from sports betting ended just shy of $300M for the year, settling at $299.4 million for the first full calendar year of sports betting since the state began taking bets in June 2018. About 81.6% of that revenue from sports betting was generated online.
"The revenue increase is a positive," said David G. Schwartz, gambling historian and Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, as reported by The Press of Atlantic City.
"Right now the industry should be in 'grow-the-market' mode rather than seeking to consolidate profits, so a decrease in profits isn't necessarily the worst news we could get," Schwartz continued. "Overall, what Atlantic City needs right now is to improve its image and marketing and become a destination in a crowded Northeast casino market."
Speaking of a crowded market, while the overall numbers were great for the nine Atlantic City casinos, only five of those properties showed revenue increases for 2019 (when taking both retail and online revenue into account).
The Golden Nugget Atlantic City's overall revenue was up 15.4% and the Borgata's up 3.5% year-over-year. Meanwhile Resorts Casino & Hotel casino win was down 3.2 percent but its online revenue more than doubled, meaning its overall revenue showed a 37.8 percent increase. Meanwhile both the Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort only opened in August 2018 and so had no year-to-year comparison.
Again considering both retail and online revenue, Caesars Atlantic City was down just slightly (about 0.2%), while Bally's Atlantic City (down 5.4 percent), Harrah's Atlantic City (down 6.1 percent), and the Tropicana Atlantic City (down 8.2 percent) also each showed year-over-year decreases.
New Record for Pennsylvania Gaming Revenue in 2019
While we're on the subject of revenue, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board also yesterday released its summary of the previous year to show the addition of sports wagering and online casino games (including online poker late in the year) helped contribute to an almost 4.5% increase in total gaming revenue in 2019.
The state's 12 casinos plus fantasy contests and video gaming terminals collectively realized just over $3.41 billion in revenue for the year, up 4.47% over the $3.26 billion in 2018. Just like in New Jersey, that marks the fifth-straight annual increase for Pennsylvania; however unlike NJ, 2019's revenue total represents an all-time high for PA.
Slots were actually down slightly (a decrease of 0.29%), although table games were up (an increase of 2.82%).
The first full year of sports wagering for the Commonwealth brought in just over $84.1 million, and while internet casino games didn't fully launch until July of last year, that was enough time to generate gross revenue of almost $33.6 million — about $4.43 million of which came via online poker which only launched in November.
As summarized by Penn Bets, the Valley Forge Casino Resort and the Rivers Casino Philadelphia enjoyed large year-over-year increases while Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and Parx Casino were also up significantly in terms of revenue.
Of all the casinos, only The Meadows, Harrah's Philadelphia, and Mohegan Sun Pocono showed decreases, each with a yearly decrease in the 2-3% range.
Image: "Casino game of change slot machines," djedj, public domain.