Both Bloom and Gloom in Gambling USA, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Vegas


As the world of wagering stateside settles into patterns of a new normal amid the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, it’s all bloom in New Jersey and Pennsylvania but gloom in Las Vegas.

The “Garden State” has reported a 6.5 per cent, year-on-year, increase in gambling revenue for September, up to US$323.3m from US$303.5m, according to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Pennsylvania also followed suit with betting and gaming producing a record-breaking September that saw total revenue rise by one per cent to $284.2m.

Yet a financial drought in Vegas, the desert rose of Nevada, is set to continue until 2024, so says money market experts Fitch Ratings.

The return of major sports activity–with the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB all in action—helped to significantly boost revenues in Jersey. Sports betting revenue last month grew 19 per cent–compared to September 2019–to US$45.1m: a total that was also 14.2 per cent higher than in August.

Regrettably, Vegas, with its reliance on land-based casinos, currently running at only 25 per cent capacity, and punters who fly to the resort, continues to be seriously affected by Covid drags.

Air traffic to Vegas, for example, is running at around 60 per cent of pre-Covid levels. Visitor numbers are down by even more. And many conferences and conventions have been cancelled or postponed.

“The Strip’s reliance on inbound visitation, air capacity, and conventions will result in a slower recovery through 2024,” argues Fitch in an overview.

With around 90 per cent of wagers being placed online, mostly on mobile phones, this is a strong indication that a permanent gambling shift is occurring in the market.

New Jersey’s other non-sports online gambling revenues, principally poker, slots and table games, also continued growing: soaring 113 per cent, year-on-year, to US$87.6m in September, the same as generated in August.

In the iGaming market, Golden Nugget kept top ranking with US$26m in September revenue, up 66.2 per cent year-on-year.

Overall, these boosts in sports, online and iGaming helped offset falls in New Jersey’s bricks-and-mortar gambling market. Revenue for the state’s casinos fell 15.1 per cent in September, year-on-year, to US$190.6m.

Revenue from land-based slots fell just under 10 per cent to US$144m, while table games revenue was also down to US$46.6m.

Total gambling revenue in New Jersey for the nine months ending September was US$1.94bn – almost 25 per cent lower than the US$2.58bn recorded over the same period last year.

Pennsylvania’s September handle was up 137.9 per cent from US$194.5m (one year earlier) and overtook the previous record of $365m set in the previous month. This did however only produce US$6.3m in tax, down from US$18.3m in August and US$14.9m in September 2019.

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