Internet gambling revenue increases after a slow start
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Internet gambling revenue is showing some encouraging gains in New Jersey after a fairly slow start.
Revenue figures released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show Atlantic City's casinos won $12.6 million from customers gambling online in April, up more than 11 percent compared to a year ago. For the year, New Jersey's Internet gambling revenue is nearly $48 million, an increase of nearly 19 percent compared to the first four months of last year.
Overall, including in-person gamblers at brick-and-mortar casinos, Atlantic City's eight casinos saw their revenue decline by 3 percent in April, to nearly $199 million. But when the four casinos that shut down in 2014 are included, the year-over-year decline was nearly 16 percent.
Four casinos reported increases last month compared to April 2014. The biggest increase, once again, was seen at the Golden Nugget, which saw its revenue rise by nearly 30 percent to $17.6 million. The biggest decline was at Caesars, which was down nearly 34 percent to $22.5 million.
Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said the decline is largely a statistical fluke due to Caesars having an unusually successful month last April, and returning to more normal levels this April.
"Don't be thrown off by these results," he said. "When you look at the first four months of this year, revenues are still running 3.5 percent above last year's levels."
New Jersey launched Internet gambling in November 2013, but it got off to a much slower start than many of its proponents had hoped. Difficulties included initial problems with geolocation technology (since resolved) that verified that players were within New Jersey's boundaries, and the reluctance of many banks to allow their credit cards to be used to fund online gambling accounts.
Including online and in-person gambling, Harrah's reported a 17.7 percent increase last month, to $29.3 million; Resorts was up 15.5 percent to $12.3 million; and the Tropicana was up 5.1 percent to $25.2 million.
The Trump Taj Mahal, struggling to emerge from bankruptcy and about to be acquired by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, was down 11.6 percent to $15.5 million. Bally's was down 3.5 million to $16.1 million, and the Borgata was down 2.9 percent to $57.5 million.
Caesars Interactive NJ, the company's online gambling arm, was down 19.8 percent in April to $2.4 million.
For the first four months of the year, Atlantic City's eight casinos have won nearly $779 million, up 3.5 percent from a year ago. But when the four casinos that closed last year -- The Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza -- are included, that figure represents a decline of nearly 11 percent.
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