Bally’s Continues to Grow in New Jersey Amid Seasonal Market Slump

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For most of the history of the market, New Jersey had eight online gambling licenses. The ninth, belonging to Bally’s Atlantic City, only became active this time last year.

Summertime is traditionally a slow period for online gambling. There’s less crossover from the sports betting vertical and more competition from other forms of recreation, particularly outdoor activities.

Most states and operators can expect to see revenue stagnate or slide from about May until August. All the major online casino states saw total monthly revenue fall in June. However, New Jersey’s daily average was up slightly when factoring in the shorter month. As a result, its position as the biggest state for online gambling revenue is looking safer once more, despite having briefly lost the title to Pennsylvania in April.

Taken together, and including online poker revenue, the six states with legal online gambling made just over $410 million in June, compared to almost $431 million in May.

One license-holder to have bucked the trend is the NJ newcomer. Since the launch of its eponymous Bally Casino skin, Bally’s has been clawing its way towards a spot in the middle of the state’s market share rankings.

Better Late Than Never

Since the legalization of sports betting kicked off an online gambling boom in the US, the market’s defining feature has been the aggressive strategy adopted by most operators. By contrast, Bally’s has been very patient and cautious.

The company – formerly known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings – completed its acquisition of Bally’s Atlantic City and the Bally’s name in late 2020. It wasn’t until July the following year that it first made use of the license through a partnership with PointsBet Casino.

Its own casino brand launch followed in January this year, and NJ remains the only state where its casino product is available. Finally, it picked up a third skin in Virgin Casino in April. Virgin is one of the older NJ online casinos, but had been operating on the Tropicana license. It switched over to Bally’s after the latter acquired its platform provider, Gamesys.

As a result, Bally’s has been on a significant upswing since the beginning of the year. In June, it booked an additional 25% gain in daily average gross gaming revenue (DAGGR), with a monthly total of over $4 million for the first time.

It’s still an order of magnitude smaller than market leader Borgata, whose license includes BetMGM Casino. However, it surpassed the next-smallest license, Ocean, in February, and is closing in on a cluster of mid-sized licenses comprising Caesars, Hard Rock and Tropicana. All three of these have also lost market share over the past year, which is helping Bally’s quest to gain ground.

In June, Bally’s market share topped 3%, which is a decent start in a market as old and as crowded as the Garden State. Total revenue for the state in June was $133.1 million, a 1.2% increase in daily average from May.

 

Pennsylvania online gambling revenue – June 2022

Pennsylvania has now had three straight months of declining revenue. DAGGR fell 4.5% in June, following a 4.1% drop in May and a smaller dip in April.

All Pennsylvania online casinos and poker rooms made a combined total of $126.3 million for the month. The contribution from slots was $95.7 million, the first time it has dipped below $100 million since February. Table games added $28.0 million and poker contributed the remaining $2.6 million.

In the past, we’ve seen slots accounting for a greater share of PA revenue in the summer months than in the winter. This is presumably due to sports bettors having a preference for table games but being less active in the summer.

That trend has weakened as the market matures, however. In June, the contribution from slots was 75.7%, less than a four percentage point difference from the low of 71.9% in January. By contrast, the swing in 2021 was over ten percentage points, from a low of 67.8% in January to a high of 78.3% in August. That said, the figure for 2022 may still grow as the summer progresses.

A few operators escaped the downward trend. Most notably, Caesars saw its DAGGR increase 18.3%, with table games revenue nearly doubling. Unibet and Wind Creek were also in the black.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest loss was for TwinSpires Casino, which is preparing to shut down. Its DAGGR dropped by two-thirds as a result. Aside from TwinSpires, Parx took the worst of it in June, down 13.3%.

Michigan online gambling revenue – June 2022

Michigan’s results for June can be described as “fair.” Its monthly total of $121.5 million represents a drop in DAGGR, but of only 1.4%.

Not only is that smaller than Pennsylvania’s loss, it’s also a year-over-year improvement. The slump from May to June 2021 was approximately twice as large, and Michigan’s annual growth of 36.2% remains the largest of the Big Three online casino states.

Michigan online casino, Eagle Casino & Sports, continued its early growth, adding 55.3% to its DAGGR and increasing its market share to 1.7%. It’s now the second-largest tribal operator after Four Winds, and rapidly catching up to PokerStars Casino, whose market share has dropped from a high of 7.1% in the market’s early days to under 2.0% now.

Most operators shared in the summer downturn, but Golden Nugget, in particular, took a beating. Its DAGGR plunged 26.9% and its market share dropped from 4.8% to 3.6%. Out of the established operators, Barstool Casino and WynnBet had the best performances of the month, up 14.9% and 16.6%, respectively.

Connecticut online gambling revenue – June 2022

Since the Connecticut online casino market launched last fall, the narrative has been consistent. In one corner, there’s DraftKings, which has the market leader position but is operating at a loss to maintain it. In the other, there’s the Mohegan-FanDuel partnership, trying to spend more modestly on promotions without getting totally overshadowed by its competitor’s exuberance.

June was a good month for the state overall, and for DraftKings. Combined DAGGR for the two operators rose 1.7%, even better than New Jersey. At the same time, DraftKings increased its market share to 62.3%, up from 59.9% in May. It did so while actually slashing its promotional expenses by more than half, from $30 million to $12.4 million.

Some grains of salt are needed here, however. DraftKings is still outspending Mohegan Casino nine to one, and rolling virtually all its gross revenue back into promotions.

There’s probably also some lag between the expenditures and the benefits. Though its DAGGR increased 7.8% in June, that may be due largely to higher-than-normal spending in May. The slashing of promotions in June may then cause its market share to recede again when July revenue numbers come in.

West Virginia online gambling revenue – June 2022

West Virginia online casinos had a tough month, more so than other states. Combined DAGGR for the three license-holders plunged 9.5%.

That may not be as dire a result as it sounds, however. Total wagering in the state held close to steady, rising 1.9% on the daily average, after accounting for the shorter month.

Due to its small size, West Virginia suffers from a lot of volatility in this regard. A large slots jackpot or a few high rollers on a lucky streak can significantly impact margins for a given month. In this case, hold dropped from 3.6% in May to just 3.2% in June.

Interestingly, that drop in hold happened to all three license-holders, although the change was much smaller for The Greenbrier (BetMGM, FanDuel, Golden Nugget) than the other two.

That’s probably just an anomaly and we should see it bounce back in future months. At the same time, the launch of live dealer games in WV should be a boon for July revenue. Already, we saw a jump of about 10% in wagering in the last week of June, possibly resulting from that.

Delaware online gambling revenue – June 2022

America’s smallest online gambling state bucked the summer slump trend. DAGGR for Delaware’s three lottery-operated, 888-powered online casinos rose 5.2%.

The total for June was $1.12 million, making it the fifth consecutive seven-figure month for the state. That’s something it had only achieved once previously, in May 2020, while retail casinos had been shut down by the first wave of the pandemic.

State Totals & Growth Rates

Here are the top line numbers for all six states, in one convenient table.

StateGGR - June 2022Monthly Change (normalized)Annual Change
New Jersey$133,138,803+1.2%+24.4%
Pennsylvania$126,337,201-4.5%+25.2%
Michigan$121,507,587-1.4%+36.2%
Connecticut$20,972,179+3.6%N/A
West Virginia $7,453,859-9.5%+66.2%
Delaware$1,119,019-5.2%+32.7%

Notes

  • Where possible, figures represent gross gaming revenue without promotional deductions. However, Pennsylvania provides only adjusted revenue for table games and poker; PA numbers are, therefore, gross slots revenue plus adjusted revenue for tables and poker.
  • West Virginia reports numbers weekly, so the monthly numbers are estimates which assume that revenue for partial weeks is spread evenly between days.

 

About the Author

Alex Weldon

Alex Weldon is the Casino News Managing Editor for Bonus. He’s a former semiprofessional poker player and has been writing about online gambling professionally since 2014. Prior to his current position, he was Managing Editor at Online Poker Report and, before that, the GameIntel Poker Update, a subscription newsletter for industry executives. Alex provides insightful content on the regulated online casino and poker industries, with an emphasis on legislation, regulation, responsible gambling and business strategy. His writing about poker has earned him multiple nominations for the American Poker Awards over the years.

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