New Jersey Internet Gaming Revenue Doubled in 2020
The year in the rearview window – 2020 – was harsh on most businesses and industries in the United States. New Jersey was no different. And Atlantic City took a beating on every front, from restaurants to general tourism and, of course, gambling. The coronavirus pandemic forced casinos to close their doors from mid-March to the early summer months. When casinos did reopen, they operated the rest of the year with varying levels of restrictions as the pandemic raged on.
One industry that played a positive starring role in 2020, however, was internet gambling.
Online poker and table games shone brightly each month and delivered a substantial revenue stream when other forms of gambling were unable to do so.
And in the end, internet gaming revenue in 2020 more than doubled its final numbers from the previous year. Even online poker, the piece of the industry that has yet to be able to hold its own, managed a 85% year-over-year increase in 2020.
Let’s take a look at the year-end numbers, based on the information provided by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement just released December's numbers and the Garden State set a few more all-time records:
Monthly sports betting handle: $996.3 million
YTD sports betting handle: $6 billion
Internet Gaming Revenue: $99.4 million
— Play NJ (@playnjcom) January 13, 2021
Online Poker: Up for Month and Year
The online poker segment of New Jersey iGaming is often seen as a side note. Of the $99.4 million in December 2020 revenue, online poker games contributed only $3 million. The reason the segment is still plugging along, though, is because it is important to many players and, someday, it will play an important role in the multi-state online poker network. It has potential on the whole.
Poker online in New Jersey had an up-and-down year. It grew significantly in March and April, alongside all other online gambling options, when casinos closed. There was another bump in July. But all other months of the year saw revenue dip monthly.
To look at December’s numbers only…
–December 2020 online poker win: $3,020,053
–November 2020 online poker win: $2,396,617
–December 2019 online poker win: $1,734,814
—Month-on-month: 26% increase
—Year-on-year: 74.1% increase
With the monthly totals for online poker almost always in flux, the yearly totals tell a better story. This shows that online poker did grow substantially in 2020. While that rate doesn’t match that of other online games, poker remains a notable part of the overall picture.
–2020 total online poker win: $38,802,330 (85.3% year-on-year increase)
–2019 total online poker win: $20,934,966
In 2021, most signs point to Covid-19 being less of a risk to casinos regarding closures. As the vaccine becomes more widely distributed, New Jersey will slowly – but surely – remove the limitations on land-based casinos. This will result in an inevitable online poker downswing.
The hope for online poker lies in the anticipated additions to the multistate online poker network in America. All signs point to New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware signing interstate liquidity agreements with Pennsylvania and Michigan in 2021. West Virginia is a possibility.
More liquidity will equal more online poker revenue for every state in the network.
Online Casino Games: Up and Up
Online slots and table games like blackjack and roulette have been consistently growing in popularity in New Jersey. Almost every month in its availability to players, online casino revenue – minus poker – has grown. And in 2020, that revenue soared.
Only a couple of months in 2020 failed to show growth, but the market generally remained on an upswing. There is no reason to believe this will change.
–December 2020 online casino games win: $96,430,012
–November 2020 online casino games win: $89,430,573
–December 2019 online casino games win: $47,593,143
—Month-on-month: 7.8% increase
—Year-on-year: 102.6% increase
It goes without saying that the online casino games hold up the internet gaming sector. When Covid-19 hit the casinos hard, internet gaming stood up and did its part.
–2020 online casino games win: $931,535,241 (101.7% year-on-year increase)
–2019 online casino games win: $461,760,342
There is no reason to believe that online casino games will continue to grow in popularity in the near and distant future.
Total iGaming: Big Wins in 2020
While online poker was unsteady for much of the year, as usual, internet casino games held the market in place. Internet gaming win impressed month after month in 2020, growing again at a nice clip in December. And the final month of 2020 brought the industry so close to $100 million…though it seems a surety to hit that mark in the next month or two.
For December, iGaming supporters can revel in these numbers:
–December 2020 total internet gaming win: $99,450,065
–November 2020 total internet gaming win: $91,827,190
–December 2019 total internet gaming win: $49,327,957
—Month-on-month: 8.3% increase
—Year-on-year: 101.6% increase
For the full year of 2020, internet gaming turned heads. When most other forms of gambling brought in little or no revenue at all, internet gaming stood strong and delivered tens of millions of dollars to the New Jersey state coffers. Those who hadn’t given the proper respect to the industry before 2020 had to give it up last year.
–2020 total internet gaming win: $970,337,571 (101% year-on-year increase)
–2019 total internet gaming win: $482,695,308
Remarkably, in the face of Covid-19, casino closures and reductions, overall gaming tax revenues are up in New Jersey from 2019. (2019=$300M & 2020=$303M) iGaming and mobile sports literally changed the revenue dynamic in 2020.
— John A Pappas (@yanni_dc) January 14, 2021
The industry will continue growth into 2021 and beyond. The ties between igaming and land-based operations inevitably strengthened in 2020, and cross promotions are likely to increase this year as a result. And this gambling sector is likely to hit a new $100 million milestone in January or February.
Sports Betting: Another Win for Jersey
There were certainly problems in this fledgling segment of the gambling industry in 2020. When there are no sports upon which to bet, as happened in March and April, there is no sports betting revenue. It was a strange year for this revenue stream, but it soldiered on and continued its upswing for most of the year.
In the end, December was a stellar month, as compared to the previous month and the previous year.
–December 2020 sports betting win: $66,386,516
–November 2020 sports betting win: $50,554,535
–December 2019 sports betting win: $29,424,884
—Month-on-month: 31.3% increase
—Year-on-year: 125.6% increase
Sports betting provided the lowest rate of growth in 2020, but any growth in a tough year like 2020 was welcomed.
–2020 total sports betting win: $398,522,934 (33.1% year-on-year increase)
–2019 total sports betting win: $299,398,035
If professional sports can continue on a path to normal seasons again, look for the sports wagering sector to find a steady path of growth in 2021.
Total NJ Gambling: Could Have Been Worse
December itself wasn’t a great month for land-based gambling, as New Jersey implemented stricter protocols due to the rise in positive Covid-19 cases. But combined with solid growth in other sectors, the total gaming revenue actually rose in December.
–December 2020 total gaming revenue: $312,910,740
–November 2020 total gaming revenue: $288,942,800
–December 2019 total gaming revenue: $287,306,117
–Month-on-month: 8.3% increase
–Year-on-year: 8.9% increase
Amazingly, in an extremely tough year for Atlantic City and the entirety of New Jersey, the gaming sector saw only a 17% decrease year-in-year.
Casino revenue dipped more than 43% year-on-year, due to the aforementioned land-based casino shutdowns and restrictions from March forward. However, combined with the doubling of internet gaming revenue and 33% rise in sports betting revenue, the overall gambling dip was only 16.9%.
–2020 total gaming win: $2,881,382,588 (16.9% year-on-year decrease)
–2019 total gaming win: $3,468,633,795
It could’ve been worse.
No one can truly predict what 2021 may bring, but all signs point to a better year than 2020.
New Jersey gambling stats December 2020. Focus on online. https://t.co/yxbSHdW9xY
— Lars Wahlström (@larsbwahlstrom) January 14, 2021
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