New Jersey DGE: April Online Revenue Jumps 22% in Year-to-Year Comparison

New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) has released its monthly summary of gambling revenue, and the latest numbers from April of 2017 show a very mild decline from the same calendar month a year earlier. However, there's a big exception to the slight overall decline: Online gambling numbers were up 22% from April of 2016, representing yet another cycle of solid growth for the segment.

The online-gambling portion of New Jersey's regulated market checked in with a win of $20.8 million in April compared to $17.0 million in the same month in 2016. That increase of about $3.8 million represents that 22% online spike.

Even the overall numbers, despite an “official” decline of 1.6%, aren't really that bad. The industry's total gaming win last month, which includes both land-based casino revenue and the online revenue, $211.7 million compared to $215.0 million for April 2016.

However, the April 2016 numbers include a $52.6 million from the now-closed Trump Taj Mahal, which means that the revenue generated from all other Atlantic City properties and best online sites was up by roughly $49 million. Given that the Internet Gaming Win (as the DGE defines it) increased by that $3.8 million noted above, it means the brick-and-mortar casino win for all of Atlantic City's remaining casinos was up by more than $45 million for April, year over year.

That's a healthy month, made to look much less so by the ongoing inclusion of the Trump Taj Mahal numbers. This residual effect of the Taj's closure will disappear after September, when the DGE's year-over-year recaps don't include that casino's numbers. It's also evident that some of the land-based gains most of AC's other casinos are currently enjoying are coming from old Taj patrons who have taken their gambling business to other properties, but the larger point is that the Atlantic City and overall New Jersey gambling markets continue to show evidence of stability.

Overall, the remaining AC casinos combined for a 5.8% win overall, once the Taj's numbers were removed, and even the land-based portion only was up 4.2%. It's a safe wager that the state's casino industry will take those numbers.

Regarding the land-based results specifically, five of the seven AC casino properties posted year-over-year gains in April. Those winners were led by the Tropicana Atlantic City (up 15.1%) and Caesars Atlantic City (up 12.9%). The only mild losers, year over year, were two other Caesars properties; Harrah's AC and Bally's AC both posted mid-single-digit decreases.

Then there's the Golden Nugget AC. The casino posted a solid 8.8% jump overall, but the Nugget's most impressive number was its 62.7% increase in its internet gaming win. The Nugget's online win was $5.38 million last month, compared to $3.31 million a year earlier. Golden Nugget AC has made real gains in New Jersey's online gambling market, and each month, the numbers hammer that point home.

Year-to-date wins remain solid as well. Through April of 2017, the state's land-based casino win totaled $763.5 million. In April 2016, that total was $751.0 million in the prior period, reflecting an increase of 1.7%. That number from 2016 still includes those defunct Taj numbers but it might reflect the best measurement of real land-based gain for AC's other casinos. Also year-to-date, the combined online win for all participating sites stands at $80.1 million. That's up 29.5% from the first four months of 2016. That's despite continuing soft results from the state's online-poker segment, off 23.9% in April alone and down 5% for the first four months of 2017 combined.

April, though, is a fickle and weather-affected month for online poker; though the softness of the state's online poker offerings remains a concern, last month's flatness isn't as dire as one might conclude. The huge jumps in most New Jersey sites' online-casino games far outweigh the poker loss, anyway.

We'll check back in a few weeks when May's numbers are in. For now, though, the financial fortunes of Atlantic City's casino industry offer more promise and hope than dire struggle. It'll be a long climb back to Atlantic City's heyday – if such a thing is even possible, given competition from neighboring states – but it's a good trend.