New Jersey’s casino industry set a new monthly record in July for internet gambling, according to data released by state gaming regulators.
The state’s casinos won more than $118 million in July 2021, a 35.7% increase from the $87.5 million the house won via online gambling halls in July 2020, when casinos were just beginning to reopen their brick and mortar establishments after a three-and-a-half-month shutdown due to the pandemic.
According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the previous online gaming record came in March, when the casinos won $113.7 million.
“This could show that patrons have not lost their appetite for internet gaming products even as they return to the in-person gaming experience, or that more people overall are participating in different gaming options,” said Jane Bokunewicz, who heads the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism at Stockton University, based in the Atlantic City area.
Even before the pandemic, the lion’s share of the sports wagers and a sizable percentage of regular gambling was done via online and mobile apps, rather than at the state’s brick and mortar casino locations.
During COVID-19 closures and restrictions, online and mobile products served as a lifeboat for the state’s casino industry as it rode the vicious financial woes of the pandemic.
New Jersey’s casinos began to steadily regain their footing by July, a full year after the casinos reopened their brick and mortar sites. Even still, they had only begun to operate at full capacity in May, after Gov. Phil Murphy lifted a final bout of COVID-19 restrictions on businesses.
Most restrictions for ancillary Atlantic City businesses were also lifted, including mask requirements and capacity limits for retail; entertainment; restaurants; and events, conferences and conventions.
With the reopenings, summer tourism surges and post-COVID pent-up demand, the casinos are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new dining, hotel, gambling and entertainment amenities.
DGE data show that the nine casinos won a combined $277 million on the floor in July. Along with the state’s three racetracks, they won a total of $450.5 million that month–a 70.4% increase from the $264.5 million in July 2020 floor winnings.
“The casinos’ recent positive momentum demonstrates Atlantic City’s resilience and should bolster confidence in the recovery of New Jersey’s tourism and gaming sector,” reads a statement from James Plousis, chair of the Casino Control Commission, another key gambling oversight state body.
Hard Rock’s revenue went up the highest year over year – by 78.7% from $31 million last July to $55.5 million this past month.
Golden Nugget’s revenue jumped 76.6% from $8.8 million in July 2020 to nearly $16 million last month. Its online gaming arm, meanwhile, jumped from $31.6 million of winnings in July 2020 to $33.6 million last month.
Borgata – which was closed for most of July – saw its revenue surge by 75%, earning $26.7 million in July 2020, compared to more than $106 million this past month. Its internet-gaming win increased 138.4%, from $15.3 million last July to $36 million this past month.