In a clear indication of future-forward, the financial runes from the betting citadel of New Jersey are shouting: Digital. Online. Sports.
This August just passed, Internet gambling, alone, brought in US$87.7m (£68.2m/€74m) — more than double the scoop of pre-coronavirus August 2019.
Internet-only platforms Resorts Digital and Caesars Interactive NJ, for example, were up over 97 per cent to US$27.9m (£21.7m/€23.5) and almost 87 per cent to US$9.2m (£7.1m/€7.8m), respectively.
And the digital boom helped smash the individual US states’ betting record for most money placed on sporting outcomes in a month – despite the trailing debilitations of the Covid-19 lockdown.
New Jersey punters wagered nearly US$668m (£519m/€564m) in August betting on baseball, basketball and ice hockey, amongst other sports; a significant up on the benchmark US$614m (£477m/€518m) set by Nevada in November 2019.
The injection of new-direction gambling helped ameliorate the heavy fiscal impact of coronavirus on casinos and racetracks, re-opened but not yet fully rebounded because of the drag of “new normal” health and safety protocols.
New Jersey racetracks and casinos took in US$326.3m (£253.4m/€275.5) last month, even though gambling floors were operating at only a quarter capacity. This marked a mere 7.5 per cent year-on-year decline in revenue.
“Even with ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, New Jersey recovery is well underway,” charged James Plousis, Chairman of the state’s Casino Control Commission.
Atlantic City’s casino take in August was almost 70 per cent of revenues earned the previous August, he noted.
Two casinos, Ocean Resort and the Golden Nugget, even worked revenue increases over the same timeframe. Ocean, for example, was up 3.7 per cent to US$26.6m (£20.7m/€22.5m) and the Nugget was up 2.5 per cent to US$37m (£28.7m/€31.2m).
Biggest August year-on-year loss was fielded by Caesars, who dropped 31.4 per cent, to US$21.2m (£16.5m/€17.9m), followed by portfolio sister Harrah’s, also down just over 30 per cent to US$21.4m (£16.6m/€18.1m).
For its part, Hard Rock only reopened two-months from lockdown and now working its “Safe & Sound” protocols, was only down a mere 3.5 per cent, to US$39.4m (£30.6m/€33.3m).
The future looks bright, says Hard Rock President Joe Lupo.
And it looks digital.