Where Does New Jersey Rank Among Most Casino-Loving States?

Where Does New Jersey Rank Among Most Casino-Loving States?
By Howard Gensler
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

The Garden State loves its gambling – and it has for a very long time, even well before the launch of real money online casinos.

In fact, TopNJCasinos.com wondered how the Garden State compared to others.

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Method For Determining Most Casino-Loving States

We compiled and then combined four data points to come up with the ranking of the 50 U.S. states from most casino-loving to least. The columns in the chart below are as follows: 

The UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research report for 2022 casino revenue; Google Trends for most searches of the terms “online casino” and “casinos near me”; and a Wikipedia list to calculate casinos per capita. Remember, among New Jersey mobile casino options are online poker and NJ slot sites.

For the revenue and casinos per capita categories, we gave 50 points for the top state in the category, down to one point for the bottom state. Then we combined the two Google Trends searches in to one “most searches” column but gave up to 50 points to each search term, so that column is on a scale up to 100 points.

Here are the results, featuring the top 15 states that embrace casino gaming the most.

Ranking of Casino-Loving States

Rank, StateCasinos Per Capita ‘22 Casino Revenue Most SearchesTotal Points
1. Nevada5050 78178
2. Mississippi454388176
3. Louisiana474581173
4. Oklahoma492893170
5. New Jersey314985165
6. New Mexico473079156
7. Michigan294185155
8. Kansas333190154
T-9. Iowa423971152
T-9. Pennsylvania214883152
11. Missouri263874138
T-12. South Dakota482753128
T-12. New York 224660128
14. Indiana254458127
15. West Virginia193569123

New Jersey Ranks Fifth

New Jersey was fifth in our list of casino-loving states, no surprise in a state that boasts Atlantic City’s big casino industry. No wonder the bench for New Jersey casino apps is so deep.

The Garden State was second in casino revenue for 2022, behind only Nevada, and ranked high in search interest with 85 points.

The ranking for casinos per capita knocked New Jersey down a bit, but it’s clear that the casino industry is vital in the state.

New Jersey Gambling History

In the early 1800s, there were lotteries throughout the state raising money for various causes. Freehold Raceway is the oldest racetrack in the U.S. with racing dating back nearly 200 years. Monmouth Park opened in 1870.

In the 1890s, the legislature banned gambling on the ponies – Freehold said “Ban? What ban?” and continued racing – and the voters decided to ban all gambling – at least all legal gambling – from 1897 to 1939.

In 1976, New Jersey voters decided to allow gambling in Atlantic City, then the only place outside of Nevada with legalized gambling. Casinos started construction and, of the casinos still in business, Resorts opened in 1978, and Caesars and Bally’s in 1979. Harrah’s opened in 1980 and Tropicana in 1981. Safe to this say this was all well before operators ever thought of mobile, so they had to stay patient for the Caesars Casino NJ app.

The Atlantic Club, Claridge and Sands were all early to open, but closed. At one point, Donald Trump had his name on three Atlantic City casinos – Trump Plaza, Taj Mahal, and World’s Fair. The Taj Mahal is now the Hard Rock. The other two casinos failed and were demolished.

In 2011, the state approved New Jersey online gaming, as long as the servers were within the confines of Atlantic City. That underwent a variety of challenges but eventually passed. In 2012, Gov. Chris Christie approved sports betting in Atlantic City, but lawsuits from professional sports leagues – you know, when they were morally opposed to sports betting  – got it squashed.

That all changed in 2018 when the Supreme Court legalized sports betting across the country, and New Jersey sportsbooks soon followed.

By 2021, online gambling revenue in New Jersey topped $1 billion.

There are now 10 casinos in Atlantic City, plus over 25 online entities, some related to the brick-and-mortar spots and some not. The casino business employs around 30,000 people – not to mention the thousands working in restaurants, shops, and tourist traps catering to casino visitors – so of course New Jerseyans love their gambling. In 2022, New Jersey gambling generated a record $5.2 billion in revenue and around $525 million in tax revenue, nearly half of that coming from online wagering. 

But bettors are not just sitting on their couches. The Borgata took in $724 million in-person gambling revenue in 2022, the most among New Jersey casinos. Hard Rock added $492 million and Ocean $356 million.  

With a population of 9.25 million, New Jersey tax revenue from gambling adds a bit more than $50 per resident.

Check with TopNJCasinos for more revenue reports and casino reviews throughout 2023, plus the best NJ online casino bonuses.



Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the New Jersey sports betting market for TopNJCasinos.com. Before his focus on U.S. sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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