New Jersey gaming revenue up 29% amid better weather in February; sports bets drop to $985M
Total casino win for the nine venues in Atlantic City was $212.4 million for February, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced on Wednesday. The figure reflects a growth of 43.3% in in-person revenue compared to $148.2 million posted in February 2021, while slightly down -about 3%- from pre-pandemic 2020.
The year-to-date total casino win for Atlantic City venues is $396.1 million which, according to the state’s regulator, reflects a growth of 28.5% when compared to $308.3 million delivered in the prior period.
“Popular holiday weekends such as Presidents’ Day and Valentine’s Day, and waning public concern for public health threats related to COVID-19 may have given a boost to brick-and-mortar gaming figures,” said Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, which studies the Atlantic City casino industry, according to AP.
“Further relaxation of pandemic-related precautions nationwide gives us hope that spring 2022 will return operators to a pre-pandemic operating environment,” the expert added. Occupancy limits have now been fully lifted and mask mandates have ended.
The Division of Gaming Enforcement also provided an update on online gaming win which, for the month of February, amounted to $130 million, a growth of 38.6% versus $93.8 million for the prior period. For the year-to-date period, it amounts to $267.8 million, 35.6% up.
Total gaming revenue reported by casinos, racetracks and their partners was $373.3 million, up 29.5% from $288.3 million in February 2021. For the first two months, that total amounts to $755 million, a 19% increase from $634.4 million in the prior period.
Out of total gaming revenue, $153.9 million corresponds to slot machine gaming, and $58.5 million to table games (which, combined, make up $212.4 million in casino win). When added to $130 million for iGaming and $30.9 million in sports wagering revenue, it results in $373.3 million for monthly total gaming revenue.
“The Casino Association of New Jersey is very pleased with the industry’s performance this past month,” said Joe Lupo, president of the trade organization, and also head of Hard Rock Atlantic City. He called February "one of the best months the industry has had since our casinos reopened in 2020,” reports Associated Press.
The CANJ president attributes the growth in part to the warmer weather experienced at the Jersey Shore after the record snowfall in January. All nine casinos posted revenue increases compared to a year earlier.
Borgata placed first for total gaming revenue at $94.3 million, up 39.5% from February 2021, making it the clear market leader. It was followed by Hard Rock ($44.8 million), Resorts’ digital operations (which delivered $38.5 million in iGaming and sports betting revenue combined) and Golden Nugget Online ($35 million). The New Jersey DGE counts land-based and online operations as separate entities.
For the year-to-date, the ranking stays basically the same, with Borgata casino again leading all operations with total gaming revenue of $186.7 million, followed by Hard Rock ($87.1 million), Resorts Digital ($81.7 million) and Golden Nugget Online ($71.4 million).
Sports betting update
In terms of sports wagering, gross revenue reported by casinos and racetracks was $30.9 million for the past month. This implies a marked 33.2% decline when compared to $46.2 million in the prior period. For the year-to-date, entities posted $91.1 million, down 29.2% from $128.6 million a year earlier.
However, online and retail sportsbooks in the Garden State fared well in terms of handle, taking in nearly $1 billion in wagers for the past month: this marks nearly a 33% year-over-year gain in betting which, according to PlayNJ, is evidence of “the resilience of the New Jersey gaming industry.”
“New Jersey’s online and retail sportsbooks continue to follow the same historical seasonal patterns, showing only a modest impact from New York’s entry into the online sports betting space,” said David Danzis, an analyst for the site. “That is a cause for relief for those that are heavily vested in the success of the state’s industry, including the state itself.”
The $985.6 million in bets posted last month, while down 26.9% from the record-setting $1.35 billion delivered in January, was however up 32.7% from the $743 million in wagers that sportsbooks accepted in February last year.
Online sportsbooks drew the most bets: $899.6 million, a 91.3% of the February handle. Meanwhile, retail sportsbooks lost $1.4 million on their bets: Resorts topped the segment with $451,455 in revenue, above typical leader Meadowlands, which posted a $146,166 loss. Although the Super Bowl helped drive bets in February, with a state-record $143.7 million in non-parlay wagering, according to PlayNJ, basketball continued to dominate the market with bettors placing $503.1 million in bets for this sport during last month.