Tuesday December 10,2013 : GAMBLING ANALYST BULLISH ON INTERNET GAMBLING IN NEW JERSEY
But it may take a little time to ramp up.
New York gambling analyst Brian McGill from Janney Montgomery Scott said in an advisory note this week that he expects the New Jersey online gambling market to grow, but it may take a little time to ramp up.
McGill visited both Delaware and New Jersey to study the initial performance of the newly launched online gambling markets, commenting that initial results have been mixed, with some teething problems on geolocation in the first days and, in Delaware's case, a relatively small pool of intrastate players (the average number of online players in Delaware has been below 50 gamblers a day, with a total of 2,800 punters depositing about $3.8 million on Delaware's three online gaming sites as of December 1.)
In Delaware, poker proved to be the most popular game, but the small population mustered only an average daily turnout of 20 cash game players over a seven day period. By contrast, the Nevada online poker sector is delivering around 200 players a day.
888Poker and Scientific Games manage Delaware's online poker operations, which are located in three racetracks situated within the state.
McGill was critical of the lack of marketing and information preparing players for the debut of online gambling in Delaware, saying that there was little promotion or information unless prospective players actually visited one of the race track sites.
Turning to New Jersey, McGill predicted that annual revenues would fall “on the high side” of the $200 million to $1.8 billion estimates so far presented by diverse independent analysts.
“We still think that online gaming will ultimately grow into a meaningful driver of revenues in New Jersey,” McGill told investors in the research note. “But it will take some time to see it ramp.”
McGill pointed out that by comparison with Nevada and Delaware, the other states that have so far legalised online gambling, the population of New Jersey was substantially larger at 9 million; it also had the advantage of proximity to major East Coast residential centres like Philadelphia and New York City.
After studying the companies competing in the New Jersey online market, McGill came to the conclusion that the Borgata, owned by MGM and Boyd Gaming, could account for 20 percent or more of the growing market. That could benefit slot developer IGT, which has provided 32 of the online slots offered by Borgata in the new market.
The Borgata has chosen European online gambling group Bwin.party Digital Entertainment as its partner in the New Jersey market.
Moody's Investor Service analyst Peggy Holloway appeared to concur with McGill's assessment, saying that New Jersey online gambling could be positive for Boyd Gaming, which with MGM owns the Borgata.
“As a single-asset company, Borgata stands to benefit more from incremental revenue from online gaming,” she opined, adding the caveat that online gambling is unlikely to prove an immediate game changer for Atlantic City and predicting that online gaming revenues in New Jersey will reach $250 million to $500 million in the first year, significantly less than the roughly $2.8 billion in annual gaming revenues Atlantic City casinos generate now.
“Operating margins will be about 10 percent to 20 percent, but startup costs will likely lead to operating losses for at least the first year,” Holloway said. “Nevertheless, online gaming is a much-needed boost for a market that has suffered protracted declines in gaming revenues amid increased competition from neighboring states and weak consumer gaming demand.”
In related news, the New Jersey regulator has revealed that over the weekend the number of players registering accounts to play at New Jersey online casinos had climbed from 51,000 to over 75,000.