New Jersey’s Gambling Sector Approaches Pre-COVID Levels

According to the regular monthly report by New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, the state’s gambling sector grew steadily in August, but financial results indicate a slowdown compared to Q2. Despite waning momentum, The Garden State’s gaming industry is still on its way to pre-pandemic figures.

August marked a 10.1% increase in total gaming revenue compared to 2021, reaching $470.7 million in total gaming revenue. While positive, the most recent financial results indicate a slowdown in the industry compared to Q2’s 14.1% year-on-year growth.

Players continued to prefer land-based casinos, which accounted for $274.0 million in profit for a 4.4% yearly increase. The sum is still below 2019’s $286 million but marks substantial progress towards recovery. Five out of the state’s nine casinos recorded growth, with Bogata at the lead with $72.0 million, up over 38% compared to last year. Hard Rock, Ocean Casino, Resorts, and Bally’s also managed to stay in the green. The four other remaining venues were not so fortunate. Caesars, Harrah, and Tropicana profits shrunk by double digits. Golden Nugget performed the worst, with an 18.6% drop.

The iGaming sector made New Jersey operators $131.4 million and recorded an impressive 16.1% increase. Although still far behind land-based casinos, the massive difference in growth could herald shifting client sentiment.

Sports wagering results at casinos also impressed with a 24.8% year-on-year for a revenue increase of $24.7 million. The state’s three official racetracks added another $37.8 million, bringing New Jersey’s sports betting revenue to a respectable $65.3 million.

Land-Based Casinos Remain the Focus

State officials commented on August’s financial results. New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman James Plousis stated that the summer had been great for the region and would provide much-needed momentum. Despite iGaming’s rising popularity, the state continues to focus on bolstering its land-based casinos. The reasoning behind this decision is that casinos sometimes retain as little as 30% of online gaming and sports betting profits, making the unofficial statistics unreliable when determining each sector’s contribution to the state.

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute, said for Associated Press suggested that the shift towards iGaming was not necessarily a detriment to land-based establishments.

A decreased reliance on exclusively in-person gaming activity has the potential to keep the New Jersey casino industry… more resilient to market disruptions…

Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University

Bokunewicz added that shifting towards iGaming could benefit casinos, as many clients enjoy both online and in-person betting.

Prospects Seem Uncertain

Although August marks a slowdown in revenue growth, state officials remain confident that the gambling sector will soon bounce back to pre-pandemic levels. Despite performing worse than in previous months, the industry retains much-needed momentum. 

The continued efforts of New Jersey’s gambling industry certainly had a positive influence, but the actual state of the sector is still uncertain. Autumn’s financial reports will show if the lull in revenue growth is a one-time occurrence or the start of a worrying trend.

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