By Ahmad Austin
The future of Atlantic City’s casinos may have nothing to do with the casino floor.
Recent statistics – released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement – have shown a significant increase in revenue contributions from Internet gambling. The seven remaining casinos in the city won a total of $205.3 million in February 2017, resulting in a 0.3 percent increase from February of the previous year.
Without the $18 million brought in from Internet gambling, the casinos would have suffered a 2 percent loss.
“Regulated, authorized Internet gambling began on November 25, 2013,” said Kerry Langan, a representative for the Division of Gaming Enforcement. “Revenues started out slower than expected but have been rising regularly.”
Resorts Digital and Golden Nugget had especially good winnings this past February. Their Internet gaming departments saw increases of 131 and 66 percent, respectively. As a whole, the casinos saw a 26.9 percent increase in winnings from Internet gambling this past February.
It is worth noting that two casinos – Bally’s and Harrah’s – do not have any forms of Internet gambling at this point.
Users are able to access these services on both their personal computers and even mobile devices. While some of the casinos simply offer online gambling websites optimized for mobile use, others have developed applications available on application stores on various smartphones and tablets. Tropicana, for example, currently has an application available to download.
The gradual increase could very well be a sign of bigger things to come. The significance smartphones have on the everyday life of the average person has become increasingly evident. Now that gamblers no longer have to leave their home to try their luck with the multitude of games casinos offer, it’s easier to participate again. Nowadays, there is seemingly no limit to what can be done with such small – but powerful – devices.
Given the numerous closings within the last three years alone, the remaining casinos of the city may see the online market as essential to turning the tides. Since January 2014, five of Atlantic City’s original 12 casinos have closed.
Although the steady increase through the years is certainly a success, the Division of Gaming is looking to make these numbers increase exponentially in the near future. The next step is to tap into a market of young gamblers.
“There also seems to be interest in the industry to appeal to millennials with more innovative, social, technologically-advanced gaming experiences,” said Langan. In order to compete with rest of industry and possibly reach the point of prominence the city was once known for, the Division of Gaming sees adjusting to the times as the best route.
Considering how much millennials consume digital content, that young market could be a key factor in a revival for Atlantic City. With many potential users growing up in the heat of this digital age – which includes the emergence of PC and console gaming on a grand scale – the transition to online gambling could prove to be seamless. Langan, however, is refraining from optimism until the statistics become a little more promising.
“No one can for sure know what the future holds.”