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Golden Nugget Trades Market Share Back And Forth With Parent DraftKings

The 2024 PlayUSA iGaming market forecast called for just under $3.2 billion in revenue through May. It stands ahead of pace at $3.3 billion.

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Photo by Shutterstock/Roman Samborskyi
Alex Weldon Avatar
6 mins read

DraftKings and its subsidiary Golden Nugget have been experiencing an unusual amount of market share volatility amidst an overall hot start to 2024 for the US online casino industry. The trend is most visible in Michigan, where Golden Nugget Casino nearly tripled its revenue in May after falling by 60% the month before.

On aggregate, US online casinos earned $677.6 million in May. That brings the annual growth rate to 28.3%, the highest it has been since September 2023.

Summer is traditionally a slower period for online gambling, with revenue declining from April to July. The drop was more abrupt than usual this year but no deeper. Daily average revenue plunged 5.3% in April but held steady in May. That is approximately the expected drop from both months combined, merely concentrated in April.

The PlayUSA iGaming market forecast for 2024 called for just under $3.2 billion in revenue by this point in the year. The industry has beaten the projections each month except for a slight shortfall in January and now sits at a total of $3.3 billion. If it can maintain this pace, the full-year total for 2024 is likely to exceed $8 billion.

This table shows the monthly percentage point change in market share for each of DraftKings’ New Jersey and Michigan properties since December, 2023.
DraftKings MIGolden Nugget MIDraftKings NJGolden Nugget NJ
12/20230.33-0.56
1/2024-0.170.31
2/2024-0.33-1.270.05-0.23
3/2024-0.831.14-1.430.95
4/20241.17-2.090-0.45
5/2024-2.382.851.1-0.07

DraftKings’ Strategy May Underlie Golden Nugget Volatility

Golden Nugget’s Michigan revenue has undergone a series of increasingly dramatic swings this year. Its daily average revenue dropped 27% in February before rebounding 56% in March. 

That swing, though impressive, paled in comparison to that of the next two months. As a result of this roller-coaster, Golden Nugget’s market share is now 4.4%, the highest it has been since August 2023, one month after hitting an all-time low of 1.5%.

It’s unclear what is causing the swings, but they appear connected to similar but opposite swings at DraftKings Casino. It saw significant market share drops in March and May and a jump in April, all of comparable magnitude to the changes experienced by Golden Nugget.

DraftKings acquired Golden Nugget in 2022, so this volatility might reflect a deliberate strategy by the company. It might be enticing its players to switch sites or diverting its promotional budget back and forth.

A DraftKings representative did not respond immediately to a request for comment. However, a similar but more subtle trend exists between the two sites in New Jersey, which has only offered a revenue breakdown by brand since January.

Online Gambling Revenue Highlights — May 2024

Pennsylvania

  • PA online casinos and poker rooms won $216.5 million in May 2024, up 27.1% year-on-year. That’s roughly unchanged since 26.9% in April.
  • The daily average revenue was $7.0 million, down 1.3% from March. Echoing the national trend, that’s a gentler decline than the 5.9% drop in April.
  • Pennsylvania is still the state most closely tracking PlayUSA’s revenue projections. For the second straight month, its performance was within 0.2% of the forecast; year-to-date, it is ahead of expectations by 0.6%.
  • The new Mohegan Sun Online Casino has continued its rapid growth. Its daily average revenue rose 50% in May, though its market share is still under 1%.
  • Most small operators had a good month, while FanDuel suffered the bulk of the losses. Its market share dropped to 25.9%, the lowest since December.

Michigan

  • Michigan’s online gambling sites narrowly missed posting their second-ever $200 million month, winning $198.6 million. The annual growth rate rose to 31.9%, the highest since November 2022.
  • Michigan’s daily average revenue remained almost unchanged at $6.4 million, a great result considering an 8.9% drop in May 2023 and 6.9% in 2022.
  • Michigan’s hot performance beat the projection by 9.7%. Year-to-date, it is 5.7% ahead of its expected pace and may reach $2.3 billion for the full year.
  • In dollar terms, DraftKings saw the sharpest decline of the 15 Michigan online casino operators, with revenue falling below $35 million for the first time since November, equating to a 12% drop in its daily average.
  • Aside from Golden Nugget, the biggest winner for the month was FireKeepers, up 14% in daily average revenue. Also on the rise were Fanatics and WynnBet — the latter now being operated as a secondary brand by Caesars.

New Jersey

  • New Jersey’s casino and poker sites earned $192.1 million in gross revenue in May. The annual growth rate was 19%, roughly the same as it has been since December (save for a spike in February).
  • NJ’s revenue averaged $6.2 million per day in May, down just 1% from April.
  • Like Michigan, New Jersey is beating the forecast by a significant margin, ahead of expectation by 7.3% in May and 5.6% year-to-date.
  • Hollywood Casino’s market share in New Jersey has dropped from 2.1% in January to just 1.3% in May. That echoes the trend in Michigan, where the rebranding from Barstool to Hollywood created an upswing in late 2023 which has been subsiding in 2024.
  • BetMGM had the worst month of the larger NJ online casino operators, with its market share dropping by half a percentage point. DraftKings, on the other hand, gained one full percentage point.

Connecticut

  • Connecticut’s two online casinos won a combined $46.3 million in May, up 41% year-on-year. That represents a return to form for the Nutmeg State following two slower-than-normal months.
  • Daily average revenue was $1.5 million, bucking the seasonal trend with an 8.1% increase over April.
  • Thanks to the upswing, Connecticut beat the projection by 5.2% in May. However, it is still 1.0% behind the forecast year-to-date due to poor performance in January, March, and April.
  • Mohegan Sun dialed its promotional spending back by 12% but kept pace with DraftKings. Market share remained a 55/45 split in favor of DraftKings.

West Virginia

  • The West Virginia online casino market produced $17.9 million in gross revenue in May, similar to its total in April. In 2023, there was a sharp downswing at this time of year, so the annual growth rate increased to 54.1%, the highest it has been this year.
  • Because of the extra day in May, daily average revenue dropped to $578,461, down 2.5% from April.
  • West Virginia beat the May forecast by 11.3% and is ahead by 8.7% year-to-date.
  • The Greenbrier license (FanDuel, BetMGM & Golden Nugget) plunged 13.2% in daily average revenue in May. As a result, its market share dropped to 35.8%. That gave Charles Town (DraftKings, Fanatics) a lead of 5.5 percentage points, its biggest advantage since the very early days of the market.

Delaware

  • Delaware’s BetRivers-operated online casinos slumped to $3.9 million in gross revenue for May. That’s still more than triple what they made last year with 888 (now Evoke) as the technology provider.
  • The 15.0% drop in daily average revenue is the biggest loss seen since BetRivers took over.
  • Slots accounted for only 68.5% of May revenue, an unusually low figure and the lowest seen in Delaware with BetRivers as the operator.

Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island has continued to under-perform expectations, with just $2.3 million in gross revenue for May.
  • Although daily average revenue increased by 4.9% in May, that’s a slower ramp-up than our projection and nowhere near what it would take to reach the state’s goals for the first year.

US Online Gambling Revenue Summary Table

StateGGR - May 2024Monthly ChangeAnnual ChangeMonth vs. ForecastFull Year TotalYear vs. Forecast
Pennsylvania$216,490,400-1.3%+27.1%-0.2%$1,066,381,934+0.6%
Michigan$198,597,831-0.4%+31.9%+9.7%$976,599,171+5.7%
New Jersey$192,072,857+0.2%+19.0%+7.3%$939,454,324+5.6%
Connecticut$46,330,246+8.1%+41.3%+5.2%$217,317,500-1.0%
West Virginia$17,932,282-2.5%+54.1%+11.3%$90,237,805+8.7%
Delaware$3,896,433-15.0%+216.3%+159.8%$20,245,141+169.9%
Rhode Island$2,255,696+4.9%N/A-51.6%$5,547,601-52.0%
US Total$677,575,745 -0.1%+28.4%+5.3%$3,315,783,476+3.7%

Notes on the Data

Raw data for this article comes from reports issued by the state regulators: the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, Michigan Gaming Control Board, West Virginia Lottery, Delaware Lottery, and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.

2024 online gambling revenue projections are original calculations performed by Alex Weldon as a collaboration between Bonus.com and PlayUSA. Please cite PlayUSA and Alex Weldon if reporting projected numbers or market performance compared to the projections.

Monthly growth figures are adjusted for the number of days in the month. That is, they represent the change in daily average revenue, not full-month gross revenue.

West Virginia reports revenue weekly, not monthly. Its monthly totals are an estimate, assuming that revenue for partial weeks is distributed evenly between the seven days.

Pennsylvania only reports adjusted revenue (gross revenue, less promotional spending). Gross slots revenue is calculated by subtracting payouts from wagers, but no such data is available for table games and poker. Therefore, actual gross revenue is probably somewhat higher than what we report.

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