Online gambling execs taking a second look at how they market in New Jersey

online 317NJ.com – Online gambling’s slow start in New Jersey, the most-populous U.S. state to legalize Internet bets, has casinos reassessing their marketing to would-be players.

Boyd Gaming Corp., the leader through its Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa-related websites, is reducing advertising after reporting a $3.2 million loss from the business in the first quarter. 888 Holdings Plc, which operates the US.888.com site, is shifting its advertising focus to slot machines from poker.

“We are absolutely shocked by the slowness of the market,” Brian Mattingley, chief executive officer of London- based 888, said in a telephone interview.

Revenue is coming in at a fraction of what was predicted. New Jersey forecast as much as $1 billion a year when Gov. Christie, a Republican, signed legislation authorizing online play last year. The monthly tally in April was $11.4 million, down from March. The state is one of three, including Nevada and Delaware, to allow casino-style bets online.

“The operators have not seen a positive response to their marketing campaigns,” Mattingley said, speaking broadly about the industry. “We’ve got to think again, the way we market.”

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