New Jersey Gears up for Additional Online Casinos This Summer
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) is the official regulatory body sanctioning the licensing of online casinos and land-based casinos in the Garden State. In recent years, the number of online casinos in New Jersey decreased from 12 to 7, but industry aficionados believe that the current quota is approaching the optimal level for the state.
Online gambling – online casino and online poker – accounts for an increasing percentage of gambling take in the state. For 2017, online gaming revenues topped out at $245.6 million, approximately 25% higher than the online GGR reported in 2016. While minimal compared to overall gambling take at $2.65 billion, online gaming has the capacity to draw in large numbers of legal age players in New Jersey. Nonetheless, the uptick in overall gambling revenue of 2.2% (year on year growth) is substantial.
Two major hotel & casino operations in New Jersey will be opening their doors to players in 2018. These include the Ocean Resort Casino, formerly known as the Revel Casino, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, formerly known as the Trump Taj Mahal. Midway through 2018, the gambling scene is going to be bustling once again as the Hard Rock opens its doors to players.
The much-anticipated surge in gambling activity follows years of declines after the global financial crisis. When the 2 casinos open their doors, Atlantic City will be home to 9 land-based casinos and well over 2 dozen online casinos and poker rooms. More importantly for online players, the Hard Rock and Ocean Resort Casino will feature online casinos. Both of these operators have applied for online casino licenses.
Big Plans for Online Gambling in NJ
According to the Philadelphia Business Journal and the Associated Press, both the Revel and the Hard Rock plan to offer NJ online casino services to players in the state. New Jersey is home to 23 online gambling sites, and if these 2 additional casinos opt for the full quota of 5 online gambling licenses apiece this will boost the overall number to almost 3 dozen.
On Monday, 29 January 2018, a spokesperson from the DGE confirmed the license applications. As per New Jersey’s gambling laws, only players located in the state will be allowed to access the online casino games. The online gambling operations of Revel Casino will be provided by UK gaming giant, GAN. Business operations will go into effect in Q2 2018.
Plans are afoot for online sports betting activity to kick in this summer, provided SCOTUS rules in favor of New Jersey to overturn the ban on sports betting. At the time of writing, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino had not responded to requests from the Associated Press vis-à-vis its online gaming partner. It remains to be seen who the online casino partner of Hard Rock will be.
Existing operators could be jockeying for position with a big-name brand like Hard Rock, or the land-based casino could go with an entirely new operator. Currently, there is speculation that Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) could get the nod ahead of the competition. The other operational casinos include Tropicana, Resorts, Caesars, Golden Nugget, and Borgata. Note that Caesars includes Harrah’s and Bally’s.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Online Casino Revenue
It’s important to point out that online gaming revenue accounts for an increasing percentage of all gambling take. The 2017 figures amount to 9% of overall gambling activity. The highest revenues from online gambling were generated by Atlantic City based casino the Golden Nugget with $68.5 million. Other operators including Caesars Interactive New Jersey, the Borgata, Tropicana, 888casino and Resorts Digital followed close in tow, with revenues in the region of $42.5 million through $48.5 million.
Atlantic City Ocean Walk announced that it would be offering 2,200 slot machine games to players at its land-based facility, in addition to 100 table games. Provided the Supreme Court rules in New Jersey’s favor, it could also provide a sportsbook to players. According to industry insiders, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is likely to open its doors over Memorial Day weekend (May 25-May 28) after having undergone an expensive restoration valued at $500 million.
Massive Pull for Millennial Players
Online gambling is particularly attractive to younger players (21+) in New Jersey. Extensive gambling industry research and analysis was conducted by a company known as Insights Associatio n the results of the study clearly illustrate that millennials are opposed to the structure and layout of traditional casino floors. While they are not ethically opposed to gambling per se, they are not enthusiastic about the design and layouts of traditional casinos. They do not enjoy getting lost inside casinos, and they seek a specific type of gaming experience which is best served through interactive online casinos.
Millennials are opposed to slots games in particular which they perceive to be antisocial and boring. New Jersey casinos clearly understand the concerns being voiced by millennials, and they realize that online gaming is a surefire way to bring in valuable revenue with low costs of operations. The games that millennials particularly enjoy in New Jersey are blackjack and poker. Any games that are romanticized by Hollywood celebrities in movies like Rounders, Casino, Shade, and the like are popular among younger players.