NJ Casino Expansion Not Igaming To Help Reclaim Lost RevenuesMarch 24, 2014 1:55 pm
Ever since Pennsylvania granted its first permanent casino licenses towards the end of 2006, the state has steadily been eating away at New Jersey’s gambling revenues and in 2012 The Keystone State overtook its neighbour to become the second biggest gambling resort in the whole of the US.
In 2013, for instance, Atlantic City Casinos generated $2.86 billion in revenues, compared to Pennsylvania Casinos which produced $3.11 billion over the same period. In November, however, New Jersey moved to reclaim lost ground by introducing online gambling, in so doing becoming the third state to do so in the country.
Naturally, officials have since been asking whether or not the last four months of New Jersey internet wagering has cut into Pennsylvania’s gambling revenues, especially as the state has been suffering declines in growth recently and revenues were down by 1.4% across the whole of last year.
Nevertheless, according to Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board spokesman Richard McGarvey, the snowier weather the state experienced in December, January and February, as well as increasing competition from casinos in Ohio was as much to blame for declining revenues, as online gambling in New Jersey. Furthermore, McGarvey pointed out that although slots revenues have been declining due to life-cycle saturation, table games have continued to grow.
One observer who believes its not too early to judge the impact of online gambling on Pennsylvania is NJ state Sen. Michael Doherty, a staunch anti-online gambling opponent who highlights the state’s lower than expected igaming revenues as proof of the minimal impact it is having so far on its neighbour. As far as Doherty is concerned, NJ should concentrate more on expanding its land-based casinos beyond solely Atlantic City if it is to pull revenues back into the state, and as he explains:
“I’m frustrated we’re getting our clock cleaned by Pennsylvania, New York and Delaware. They’re going to the Lehigh Valley or they’re going up to the Mount Airy Lodge or the Aqueduct (racetrack in New York) or they’re going to Philly from South Jersey.”