Online gambling in New Jersey was officially authorized at the end of November last year after an extensive legal process. Only 15 days into 2014, Atlantic City casinos are already hedging their bets on internet gambling revenue.
The casinos tallied their 2013 yearend revenues, which combined accounted for less than $3 billion – the first time in 22 years Atlantic City’s casino sector failed to clear the $3 billion benchmark. The diminishing revenues were directly responsible for claiming the Atlantic Club casino, which filed for bankruptcy last year.
The Atlantic Club, which was one of two casinos that did not go live with an online gambling destination, officially shut its doors on Monday as its assets were sold to two principle rivals – Tropicana Resorts and Caesars Interactive. Caesars took ownership of the Atlantic Club’s land, but has yet to announce what will be done with the land other than stripping away the now vacant casino.
Caesars was also one of two brands to dominate New Jersey’s fledgling online casino market over the first five weeks of operations, along with the Borgata. Caesars is partnered with 888 Casino, one of the world’s most interactive online gambling providers, and generated over $2.4 million since November 26.
The Borgata meanwhile, accumulated $3.7 million in online gambling revenues, with the remaining Atlantic City casinos taking in approximately $2.3 million. The lower return for the remaining casinos was due in part to technical glitches, and other problems that delayed entry into the online gambling market.
Kevin Smith, President of Boyd Gaming – which owns half of the Borgata, says the online casino brought back players who used to be regulars at the physical Borgata casino. Smith says the internet gambling destination is “complementary, not competitive” to business in Atlantic City.
“When matching our online and land-based databases, we found that 60 percent of online casino customers had not been to Borgata in over a year, and over 75 percent had made fewer than two trips to Borgata in the past year.”
New Jersey legalized online gambling primarily to inject new sources of revenue into Atlantic City. With total revenues in 2013 reaching a new low for the casinos, online gambling could be the saving grace necessary to save the New Jersey boardwalk.