This October we saw the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania being chipped away when an NJ online casino petitioned the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for a license. And it looks like Golden Nugget Casino is the pioneer to first try and cash in on the market in its neighboring state, as it looks to go mobile with Golden Nugget Online Casino and become the top of the PA online casinos.
Surely, it was the number one candidate to do so. Its status as the top NJ online casino is backed up by some serious revenue numbers. Golden Nugget navigates 35% of the market share in NJ, making monthly profits double the size of those of its biggest rival, Borgata.
Launching online slots and table games in Pennsylvania should pose no trouble for this industry giant, but there is a question mark around whether it will have the same success as a PA online casino.
Let’s start with the launch of the PA online casino itself. There are many reasons why we can expect Golden Nugget Casino to do that part of the job perfectly. Most of all, the casino already has a list of over 500 online casino games on its website, waiting on standby to open its doors for PA players.
There is something even more important for a casino’s success than a strong start and that’s good management. Golden Nugget Casino is renowned as a risk-taking enterprise and this is one way that it stands out from most other casinos. A good example of this is the fact that they introduced live dealer games before any other NJ online casino, which could be traced back to how they got their name as the market leader in the Garden State.
The casino management is also known for striking smart, well-calculated and strategic partnerships with other gaming providers. Golden Nugget Casino cut a deal with two other big names in the market, SugarHouse Online Casino NJ and Betfair NJ.
Ironically enough, now SugarHouse Online Casino turned out to be a competing PA online casino for Golden Nugget. Given Golden Nugget’s track record, we expect the casino to make the right moves and team up with the top PA brands in order to get a head start.
Perhaps the main reason why Golden Nugget Casino might struggle on the PA online casino scene is the most evident one - size. A bigger market means more competition and less revenue. After sitting on the sidelines for months while NJ online casinos have been piling up revenue, PA casinos are more than ready to make their move.
In fact, the time PA casinos have spent waiting was most likely time spent strategizing and, quite possibly, studying Golden Nugget’s success in New Jersey.
What’s more, PA online casinos won’t be the only type of competitors Golden Nugget Casino will have to face. The Pennsylvania Lottery has gained tremendous popularity in the state for its casino-like games and simulated sports betting. In fact, these lottery games are so similar to casino games, that seven PA casinos have taken up a lawsuit against the PA Lottery for breaching their exclusivity clause.
And last but not least, the state of Pennsylvania has imposed a stupendous 36% tax on online gaming. Not only Golden Nugget, but every PA online casino will have a rough time getting ahead of its competitors’ revenue when over a third of its profits is put away for taxes.
Golden Nugget Casino will have to pull a tremendous marketing and management job to be able to make the same name for itself as it did in New Jersey.
The small fish in a big pond parallel will be true to every casino, simply because of the size of the PA market. As soon as the market kicks off, it will be first draw wins - the first casino to set itself apart and take the calculated risks will have the best odds to the throne.