In normal times, a surge in online gambling revenue of 118 percent over the previous year’s figure would be something to celebrate. But these are not normal times and the aforementioned good news, which actually did take place in New Jersey during the month of April, is something of a mixed blessing.

Last month marked the first full month that land-based casinos in New Jersey were closed and that virtually no sports betting could take place. That confluence of events was a boon for online gambling revenues which clocked in at an impressive $80 million – a full 118 percent increase over April 2020, according to to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE). New Jersey’s previous record month for online gambling revenue was March 2019 when operators brought in around $65 million. The catch here, of course, is that revenue from land-based casinos was zero.

The big winner, as is regularly the case in New Jersey, was online casino games. This sector of the market brought in an impressive $74.8 million all on its own and is a full 114 percent higher than the same period last year. Even online poker, which has been anemic in New Jersey from the start, brought in $5.5 million and shattered the previous monthly revenue record of $3.1 million. (Most months, however, online poker brings in less than $1 million in New Jersey.)

In the bad news category, sports betting brought in only $2.63 million in April as players had virtually nothing to wager on. By way of comparison, that’s an 87 percent drop over April 2020.

While the online gambling surge is a speck of good news, it’s floating in a sea of despair. April 2020 was also the first month that Atlantic City casinos were completely shut and it’s unclear when they will re-open. Until then, online gambling will be the industry’s only source of revenue.

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