The disruption caused by the pandemic made 2020 a challenging period for many businesses, and bricks and mortar entertainment venues like casinos were especially hard hit last year. However, the latest figures suggest that 2021 could be a record-breaking era of revenue generation for land-based casino operators in New Jersey Casinos, largely as a result of coronavirus restrictions being eased or removed altogether.
Back to business as usual
Last year New Jersey casinos closed their doors in March as the Covid-19 crisis gripped the nation and the world, and it was not until the start of July that they were able to re-open.
Official stats published by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement revealed that even after the return of land-based casinos in the middle of 2020, revenues were stifled because venues in Atlantic City and elsewhere were unable to operate at their normal capacities. This led to takings of just $264.5 million over the course of July.
In comparison, July of 2021 saw a 70.4 percent increase in revenues, reaching $450.6 million in the same period. The earnings of the best New Jersey casino sites found here were also up by over a third year on year, with residents wagering $118.7 million via web-based gambling services.
The obvious conclusion to draw is that the removal of pandemic restrictions in the spring has helped operators to reconnect with customers who were kept away over the past 12 months, and thus stimulate some of the pent-up spending power as normality returns.
Another intriguing observation that can be made about the potentially record-breaking year that New Jersey’s land-based casinos are on a trajectory to enjoy is that this has not come at the expense of online play.
When the pandemic struck and gambling fans had no choice but to play online because their favorite venues were shuttered, the rapid rise in the use of online services led some to predict that this would signal the end of the traditional casino experience as we know it.
This has been proven to be overly pessimistic, and clearly, there is more of an appetite than ever for bricks-and-mortar in New Jersey casinos, as well as in the other states where such establishments are legalized.
At the other end of the spectrum, some insiders feared that the explosion in the popularity of online casinos reported in 2020 would only be temporary and that once people could go back to physical locations without restrictions, interest in this digital market would tail off. Again, this is clearly not the case, with strong double-digit growth in both segments of the gambling sector.
What seems to have happened is that the expansion of the online casino market has actually encouraged more people to visit bricks-and-mortar venues and vice versa. Thus the growth of the industry is self-perpetuating, rather than the two sides being in opposition to one another.
This is no doubt helped by the fact that only land-based casino brands are eligible for a license to run online gambling sites in New Jersey. So whether you play online or visit a casino in person, the house is getting its cut.
Positive news from a taxation perspective
While the prospect of New Jersey casinos making more money in 2021 than ever before might seem like something that only applies to those in the industry itself, it is worth noting that of course the revenues generated by these businesses are taxed by the state. This in turn means that there is more money in the public purse that can be used for all sorts of services state-wide.
The sheer scope of the economic impact on New Jersey casinos, both online and land-based, is easy to understand when looking at the month of July this year in isolation. Gaming taxes for this period topped $44 million, and this is all the more significant since the summer months are often a little slower in this industry because people tend to be enjoying outdoor pursuits rather than using gambling services.
So the long and the short of it is that while 2020 raised fears that the casino sector might never be able to recover from its pandemic-induced tailspin, the bounce back so far in 2021 has been undeniable, and looks set to continue. Those employed within the industry, as well as customers and taxpayers in general, should celebrate this news.