Where's the action? Mims takes a look at where the casino money went in NJ and PA
After being back in action for the months of July and the beginning of August, the numbers posted by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board reflected similar trends.
There was a pent-up demand for gaming and casino activities. New Jersey operated at 25% capacity while certain casinos in Pennsylvania were capped at 50%. Each week there has been an increase of foot traffic during times that would be considered off peak prior to the pandemic. More people are coming in during the mid-afternoon hours. The games that exhibit the highest demand are Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, and Baccarat. There is a limit on how many people can play on each game so there may be a waiting period.
The slot volume was down because of the limitation on how many machines were available to the public. Eight of the nine casinos in Atlantic City reported a drop in slot revenue from the same period last year. Many patrons were concerned about entering a venue that contain a large group of people. The casinos have incorporated new policies that put cleanliness, wearing a face mask, social distancing, and protective measures to alleviate most of those concerns.
The increase in Internet gaming grew. The growth started during the beginning of the pandemic when the casinos were closed and has continued. Year-to-date, New Jersey internet gaming revenues are up 98.7% over the first seven months in 2019. Year-to-date internet gaming revenue is $510 million. More online operators expanded their offerings and provided activity for customers that were confined to their homes.
Sports betting provided increased action with the return of the NBA, NHL, and MLB. While the retail action was significantly down because the casinos were closed, the online action was still strong. Many wagers were placed on future bets and the NFL Draft. Prior to the closing, the retail or brick and mortar in Pennsylvania was generating between 19 to 25% of the action. These are bets placed in the casinos. The trend of wagering online will continue to increase as more player achieve a comfort level with wagering on their phones.
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