Atlantic City Bustling With Optimism as New Year Approaches

Posted on: December 29, 2023, 01:57h. 

Last updated on: December 29, 2023, 02:21h.

When December’s revenue report comes in next month, the nine casinos in Atlantic City will have officially won more money on their physical gaming floors in 2023 than they did in 2022, 2021, and pre-pandemic 2019. Along with new attractions and an improving economy, analysts focused on the New Jersey casino town are oozing with optimism as the new year approaches.

Atlantic City casino revenue New Jersey
Beachgoers take in the sun in Atlantic City in a July 2018 file photo. Atlantic City is finishing a strong 2023 where brick-and-mortar casino win recovered past pre-pandemic 2019 levels. (Image: AP)

New Jersey’s nine brick-and-mortar casinos through November have won a little more than $2.6 billion on their physical slot machines and table games. That’s 1.8% richer year-over-year, almost 12% better than the same 11 months in 2021, and a 5.5% improvement on 2019.

It’s worth noting that only three casinos — Borgata, Hard Rock, and Ocean — have won more brick-and-mortar gaming money this year than they did during the same period in 2019. However, this year’s improved industry-wide, land-based play is in addition to record iGaming and sports betting win, which the casinos share with their interactive partners.

Through November, online casinos have generated gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $1.74 billion, and casino oddsmakers have won roughly $419.2 million from sports bettors.

2024 Atlantic City Enthusiasm

Speaking with the Associated Press, Jane Bokunewicz, director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University, says economic conditions are improving throughout the country and in New Jersey. She believes inflation easing and the recent Wall Street rally will continue Atlantic City’s momentum in the year ahead.

There are several reasons for optimism in looking ahead to 2024,” Bokunewicz said. “With recent gains in the stock market and a stabilization of inflation, consumer confidence may be improving, which could lead to increased spending on travel and entertainment.”

Though Atlantic City casino win is up, the nine resorts have reported a reduced occupancy rate this year. Through three quarters, the casinos’ 15,520 hotel rooms were occupied 75.2% of the time — down from the 76.2% occupancy rate through three quarters in 2022. The casino rooms have gone for an average nightly rate of $186 this year, just a dollar more than they did in 2022.

Recent and future investments in town will ideally make Atlantic City more attractive in 2024 and the years ahead. Along with the Showboat’s $100 million indoor waterpark and the opening of Dave & Buster’s on Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City is undergoing security and infrastructure improvements designed to make the casino town more welcoming.

Smoking Considerations

The biggest topic facing the Atlantic City gaming industry next year will be the state’s consideration of ending the indoor smoking loophole afforded to the nine casinos.

It appeared that lawmakers in Trenton would pass legislation to force the Atlantic City casinos to go entirely smoke-free. But that didn’t happen following last month’s elections. That’s because several Republicans rescinded their support for a smoking ban in favor of allowing the casinos to pitch possible solutions to satisfy workers who do not wish to be further exposed to secondhand smoke.

The casinos oppose a smoking ban on claims that smokers would take their business to nearby Philadelphia, where indoor smoking is permitted at several casinos.