- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s fledgling Internet gambling industry saw its first monthly decline, falling slightly to $11.4 million in April.

In March, which had one more day of gambling than April had, Internet gambling brought in $11.9 million. Figures released Wednesday by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement show the average online take per day was $380,958 in April, down from $383,173 in March.

Online gambling had shown monthly increases of 28 percent in January, 9 percent in February, and 15 percent in March. It began in late November as a way of helping the struggling casinos bring in new revenue and new customers.

Joe Lupo, senior vice president of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, said his casino has always believed that mobile devices would be key to Internet gambling revenue. Getting the different platforms to work with 3G and 4G smartphones will help in coming months, he predicted. Lupo also said the industry hopes for more widespread credit card and other electronic payments to fund Internet gambling accounts.

“It simply takes time when launching a new business,” he said.

Matt Levinson, chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, said the tapering off of Internet gambling revenues could be because of continuing difficulties many gamblers encounter in trying to fund their accounts with credit cards. He also speculated that better weather in April led some gamblers to play in person.

“Maybe when the weather was nice, the laptops got closed and people decided to come down to Atlantic City,” he said.

The Borgata continued to lead New Jersey’s online market, with $16.4 million so far this year, compared to $13.1 million for Caesars Interactive and $6.2 million from the Tropicana Casino and Resort. The Golden Nugget and the two Trump casinos ranged from $2 million to $2.7 million in online winnings for the year.

Overall revenue, including online bets and those placed in person at brick-and-mortar casinos, increased by 3.2 percent in April to $235.9 million, compared with April 2013.

Revenue from the 11 casinos that operated in April of both years was up by 3.3 percent, but those figures exclude the Atlantic Club, which closed in January. When the Atlantic Club was included, Atlantic City’s casinos posted a decline of 1.8 percent compared to April 2013.

Revel Casino Hotel saw the biggest gain at 55 percent, from $8 million a year ago to $12.5 million this April.

The Golden Nugget showed a 40 percent overall increase in April, to $13 million; Caesars Atlantic City was up 17 percent to $34 million, and the Borgata was up 12.8 percent to nearly $49 million. Resorts Casino Hotel was up 7.7 percent to $12.5 million, and the Tropicana was up 6.4 percent to $21.9 million.

Trump Plaza had the biggest decline at 26 percent, to $4.4 million.

So far this year, the 11 casinos and the 16 online sites have collectively won $831 million, down 6 percent compared with the first four months of 2013.


Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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