New Jersey is one of the three states in America to have legalized online gambling and gaming legislators are finally beginning to see the online gambling industry in the garden state perform as expected. When New Jersey decided to lift the ban on online gambling in 2011, gaming analysts promised that the online gambling market would generate a significant amount of revenue for the government. Online gaming operators started to operate in New Jersey from 2013 and were very optimistic about the chances of succeeding.
Online Gambling Revenue Record In March
However that wasn’t the case as the New Jersey market proved to be extremely sluggish in 2014 and 2015 causing a number of online gaming operators to shut down operations. Ultimate Bet was one of the operators that exited the market stating that it did not expect the New Jersey market to turn around anytime soon. However things have changed considerably for the online gambling market in New Jersey and gaming regulators have reported record online gaming revenues for March 2017.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) stated that the total online gaming revenue generated in March 2017 was 40 percent more than the revenue generated in March 2016. The online gambling industry generated $15.5 million in March 2016 and that revenue rose to $21.7 million in March of this year. The online gambling industry has performed extremely well during the first quarter of this year, generating an increase of 32 percent when compared to the first quarter last year.
Online Gambling Boosts Atlantic City Casino Revenue
The performance of the online gambling market provided a much needed boost to the brick & mortar casino industry in the state and helped them boost their gambling revenues by 9 percent. The brick and mortar casino industry in New Jersey has taken a beating during the last decade which has resulted in the closure of 5 out of the 12 casinos in the state. As of now, there are only 7 operational casinos and 6 out of these casinos posted a profit in March with the exception of Bally’s which had a decline of just 2.2 percent.
The decline of Atlantic City’s brick & mortar casino has posed numerous problems for Atlantic City as the city collected a significant portion of its revenue from the casino industry. Gaming revenues dropped from $5.5 billion in 2006 to $2.6 billion in 2016 and this nearly 50 percent drop brought Atlantic City to the brink of bankruptcy. The closure of 5 casinos during the past few years has also caused high unemployment in the state and posed significant challenges for the state government.
There were many supporters of the brick & mortar casino industry who initially opposed the online gambling legislation as they believed the online gambling industry would further hinder the performance of the brick & mortar casinos as it would eat into their profits. However Robert DellaFave, who works as a gaming analyst for said that those fears were misplaced as the numbers clearly proved that the online gambling industry was helping the brick & mortar casino and more importantly was helping to change the fortunes of Atlantic City. DellaFave also stated that it was a proven fact that the majority of online gamblers in New Jersey had been to a brick & mortar casino in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City Witnessing Slow Turnaround
The chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, Matt Levinson was very positive about the future of the gaming industry in New Jersey. Levinson wants every month to be like March and stated that the numbers generated signified a slow turnaround for the casino industry and believes that things will continue to get better as the year progresses. Levinson stated that the performance of the gambling industry generated a positive image for Atlantic City and has helped to bring in new investment to the city.
The performance of the online gambling industry in New Jersey will encourage Nevada and Delaware where online gambling in legalized. It will also encourage a number of other states such as Pennsylvania, California and New York where legislators are contemplating the possibility of legalizing online gambling in their respective states.