Internet gambling revenue continues to climb in New Jersey.
Despite three fewer calendar days in February than January, the state saw a 9 percent increase in online betting revenue compared to the prior month. In February, online gambling resulted in $10.3 million in revenue, up from $9.5 million in January. Seven of Atlantic City’s 11 casinos are authorized to offer Internet gambling
The state saw a $199 million in casino win in February, a 6 percent decline from $212 million in the same month a year ago. Online revenue, however, helped offset the losses, bringing the state’s overall gambling decline to 1.4 percent compared to a year ago.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa continued as the industry leader in online gambling, with Caesars Interactive Entertainment following closely behind. Borgata saw 40 percent of the market share in February at more than $4 million. Caesars Interactive, which holds gambling permits for both the Caesars and Bally’s properties, had a 32 percent market share in February.
Meanwhile, Tropicana Casino and Resort saw the most significant increase in market share, with a 60 percent gain over January results at $1.3 million.
But for the first time since online gambling launched in November, some losses were seen for individual operators. Both Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, which is partnered with Ultimate Gaming, and Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, which is partnered with Betfair, were down from January revenue standards.
Trump Plaza fell 11 percent to $493,590, and Trump Taj Mahal fell 32 percent to $587,323.
Casino analyst Roger Gros, who publishes Global Gaming Business magazine, said he was not surprised by the losses, noting that brand recognition has likely made the industry leaders in land-based gambling also the most successful in online operations.
“Frankly, the Trump properties just aren’t doing a good job right now. Ultimate and Befair were basically unknown in New Jersey and had their hands tied not being able to use the Trump name,” Gros said. “Brands are very important in attracting players.”
Borgata Senior Vice President Joe Lupo said the casino, which is up 36 percent over its January Internet revenue, said the advertising dollars properties continue to spend on online gambling marketing will play an important role. Still in the launch phase, Borgata will launch more billboard advertising in the coming weeks to attract more players.
The addition of mobile platforms will also play a role in revenue, Lupo said. Not all properties are currently offering mobile versions of their online operations. Casinos also do not yet have the capability to add mobile access across all devices.
For example, this month Borgata launched an Android app that can access 3G and 4G networks. Borgata also has an app for iPhone users who have wi-fi access but does not have the same capabilities for 3G and 4G users.
“The iPhone just isn’t there yet. That’s going to be a big piece of the puzzle,” Lupo said.
Some of February’s increases could have been attributed to winter storms and snow days that may have given some players more time to gamble. Lupo said the casino saw increases in online play during snowstorms, while its land-based operations saw declines.
Borgata statistics show, however, that players accessing online gambling differ from the market at its land-based property. About 85 percent of those who play online have not engaged in rated play at Borgata in two years.
Still, with Internet gambling resulting in $19.8 million in revenue this year, the industry remains far from Gov. Chris Christie’s original predictations.
Until recently, Christie said he expected online gambling to account for $160 million in tax revenue this fiscal year. Earlier this month, however, the state reduced those expectations to $34 million.
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