Don’t blame New Jersey for Pennsylvania’s sudden decline in gambling revenue. Or maybe you should. That’s the message coming out of the two states with the announcement that Pennsylvania’s fortunes are reversing.
Over the last seven and a half years, Pennsylvania ripped into Atlantic City casino revenue by opening up their own properties across state lines.
But with the opening of New Jersey Internet casinos back in November, it looks like things are changing. Pennsylvania casino revenues have been dropping. Many are suggesting that New Jersey is the culprit.
New Jersey online casinos are open exclusively to players who are logged in from within the state’s borders. That means you need to physically be in the Garden State to hop on and win cash. And while Pennsylvania residents can’t play at New Jersey casinos from Pennsylvania, the reason for the drop in revenue is because a good chunk of Pennsylvania casino players are actually from New Jersey.
On the surface, it seems like New Jersey online gambling is the culprit. But we’re not convinced. It turns out that while slots revenue is down in the state of Pennsylvania, table games revenue has actually shot up.
And while many might be quick to point out that online gambling will ultimately steal players from land-based casinos, one New Jersey operator begs to differ.
According to the operator of the Borgata, about 85% of those who play online have actually never been to the land-based property. So rather than one market cannibalizing the other, online casinos are actually driving traffic to the land-based properties.
But Pennsylvania isn’t necessarily buying that. The state is now studying the possibility of opening up the regulated gambling market there. While some state senators are against the idea, that may change of casino revenue continues to bleed.
And here’s where it gets interesting. While neighboring states explore online opportunities, we may soon New Jersey go in the other direction. In a few years, we could very well see casino expansion outside of Atlantic City to help attract people who might prefer resort casinos in neighboring states.
Needless to say, the next five years will be interesting. We’ll definitely be watching.