By JENNIFER BOGDAN
Internet gambling revenue rose 15 percent to $11.9 million in March, helping to offset a 7 percent loss in brick-and-mortar casino win.
While Internet gambling revenue figures have not nearly approached Gov. Chris Christie’s initial $1 billion predictions for the industry’s first year, revenue has steadily increased month over month.
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa continued to lead the pack of six casino licensees operating Internet gambling websites with $4.4 million in online revenue, a 37 percent market share. Tropicana Atlantic City Casino and Resort saw the largest increase month over month with a 41 percent boost to $1.9 million. The casino attributed the gains to new registrations, promotions, and the launch of a new iPhone app.
Still, the data left at least one team of analysts from Macquarie Capital Inc. calling the results disappointing.
Chad Beynon and Jeremy Luskin, of Macquarie Capital Inc., said the gains in March equate to a 4 percent online revenue increase per day and are attributed to continued introduction of new online casino content as opposed to online poker content.
“Even as geolocation issues have been mostly resolved and platforms are more built out, we still are not seeing the demand necessary to make us believe this will be a meaningful part of the (profit and loss) of regional gaming operators,” they said in a written analysis.
Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar casino win in March fell to $221.5 million, down from $238.5 million a year earlier. Land-based revenue is measured compared to the same month in the previous year to reflect seasonal changes in Atlantic City visitation.
The latest data released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement Monday slowly closes the gap in total gaming win for the state. Online casino win is driving the increases, while online poker win is leveling off.
Internet gambling revenue is made up of online casino and poker wagering.
Online casino win grew 20 percent in March to $8.7 million compared to February; online poker win increased 3 percent to $3.2 million compared to February. March, however, had three more days than February.
In the year to date, land-based casino revenues are down 7.5 percent to $606.9 million. Internet gambling win in the first three months of the year, however, has totaled $31.6 million. The additional revenue offsets total gambling win loss to 2.7 percent.
Beynon and Luskin noted positive developments, including added online mobile casino accessibility on 3G and 4G networks and Apple devices. The analysis suggests that the market will grow to between $175 million and $250 million by 2015, but will cannibalize between $20 million and $40 million of land-based revenues in the process.
Operators adamantly deny that online casinos are cannibalizing land-based revenues. Caesars Interactive Entertainment, which holds permits for Caesars Atlantic City and Bally’s Atlantic City, Borgata and Tropicana have all said their online customers are primarily different from their land-based players.
Tropicana Entertainment President and CEO Tony Rodio said 68 percent of the online customers at TropicanaCasino.com are new to the Tropicana brand.
“While we are seeing substantial growth in the online side of the business, we are also seeing growth in our land-based numbers, which seems to dispel the notion that internet gaming will cannibalize Atlantic City casinos,” Rodio said.
Five of Atlantic City’s 11 land-based casinos saw gains in March 2013 compared to the same month the previous year. Revel Casino Hotel saw the most drastic improvement with a 50 percent increase to $14.7 million in revenue. Resorts Casino Hotel saw a 20 percent increase to $11.2 million, and Golden Nugget Atlantic City saw a 21 percent increase to $12.9 million compared to March 2013.
Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, which has continued to see large declines for months, took the most significant hit with a 31 percent casino revenue decline to $4.7 million. Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort brought in $19.1 million, a 19 percent decline. Bally’s Atlantic City declined 18 percent to $17.9 million in revenue.