New Jersey’s Gambling Sector Hits Jackpot with Record-Breaking January, Despite Dip in Casino Floor Earnings

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As the curtain rose on 2024, New Jersey’s gambling industry embarked on an unparalleled winning streak, shattering four major revenue records. However, this financial boon starkly contrasted with the declining fortunes from traditional in-person casino gambling. According to the latest data released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, the combined might of Atlantic City’s casinos, alongside their digital and sports betting counterparts, amassed over $559 million in January alone, marking a staggering 28% increase from the previous year.

This surge in revenue is primarily attributed to an exceptional month for internet gambling, which soared to $183 million, and sports betting revenues, which escalated to nearly $171 million. These figures represent year-on-year increases of nearly 20% and more than 136%, respectively, setting new benchmarks in the state’s gambling history.

However, it’s crucial to note that these lucrative streams are not solely for the casinos’ coffers. Partnerships with third-party tech platforms and sportsbooks mean that a significant portion of this revenue is distributed, underscoring the casinos’ reliance on their traditional core business—earnings from in-person gamblers.

Jane Bokunewicz, of the Lloyd Levenson Institute at Stockton University, suggests that January’s harsh winter weather played a pivotal role in this dynamic, diverting patrons from the casino floors to online platforms. This shift is evident in the in-person casino winnings, which, despite exceeding January 2019’s total, still reflect a 3.1% decrease from the previous year, lingering below pre-pandemic levels at just over $205 million.

The narrative of recovery is not uniformly bleak; Atlantic City’s three newest jewels—the Borgata, Hard Rock, and Ocean—bucked the trend by outperforming their in-person gambling earnings from four years prior. This achievement highlights the uneven recovery landscape, with two-thirds of the city’s nine casinos still struggling to match their pre-COVID-19 in-person revenue figures.

New Jersey’s bold foray into sports betting has undoubtedly redefined its gambling sector. With a record $1.71 billion wagered on sports in January alone, the state has emphatically smashed its previous best of $1.62 billion. This boom in sports betting is led by the Meadowlands Racetrack, which doubled its winnings from the previous year, and other key players contributing to this burgeoning sector.

The financial results across Atlantic City’s casinos and their digital counterparts further illustrate the evolving landscape. The Borgata led with a total intake of $107.6 million, while others like the Golden Nugget and Hard Rock posted significant gains. Yet, when focusing solely on in-person gambling revenue, a mixed picture emerges, with some establishments experiencing declines, underscoring the ongoing challenges within the traditional casino sector.

As New Jersey’s gambling industry navigates this complex environment, the marked growth in digital and sports betting revenue showcases both the opportunities and challenges ahead. The state’s ability to adapt and innovate, particularly in enhancing the in-person casino experience and leveraging the explosive growth of online platforms, will be pivotal in shaping its future success.

The evolution of New Jersey’s gambling sector stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of both traditional and modern forms of betting, reflecting broader trends that are reshaping the industry nationwide.